Michael Noonan’s first Budget Limerick TD share their views: page 11
theCityVoice Volume IV, Issue I
the voice of the City
Friday, December 2, 2011
159 women travel for abortions Aisling Hussey
• Clothes and personal items were frequently lost or damaged; and • Patients spent most or all of the day in bed with little or no activities in some cases. Eamon Timmins, Chief Executive of Age Action Ireland, highlighted the serious nature of the findings and insisted they were simply unacceptable.
AT least 159 Limerick women travelled to the UK for abortions last year, according to figures released to The City Voice. These women represent 3.9 per cent of Irish abortions, which is the fifth highest rate in the country. As women are not obliged to give their address when seeking an abortion, this figure could be significantly higher. Last year’s figures show a 15 per cent increase since 2008 when 131 women from Limerick had abortions in the UK. However, abortion rates nationally have fallen over the same period; from 4,600 in 2008 to 4,402 in 2010. Programme Director of Reproductive Choices Gabrielle Malone said that many women from Limerick call their Dublin offices. “We get a fair amount of women calling from Limerick looking for advice,” she said. “There are lots of different reasons why a woman would seek an abortion. There could be economic, personal or medical reasons. “Some cannot afford to have a child, or perhaps they don’t have a partner,” she said. CEO of the Irish Family Planning Association, Niall Behan said the reasons Limerick women were chosing to have an abortion were complex.
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Ryan,Olivia and Clodagh O’Donoghue of Hyde Rd play at the People’s Park on Mallow Street
Nursing home shame HIQA reports reveal elderly care problems in Limerick homes
Karen O’Connor Desmond Chief Reporter
A SERIES of damning reports on nursing homes in the Limerick region expose a litany of problems in the standards of care for the elderly.
Documents uncovered in an investigation by The City Voice reveal that some elderly patients in St Camillus’ Hospital in the City had a bath or shower only every three weeks. St Ita’s hospital in Newcastle West failed to meet fire safety regulations, according to an internal report by HIQA, the health information and quality authority. Both hospitals are run by the HSE. While many of the problems were
minor, some were more serious. Among the other concerns highlighted by HIQA on Limerick nursing homes were: • Records detailing the date, time and cause of death of a resident were missing one nursing home; • Staff files were frequently incomplete, in some cases Garda vetting applications were missing in another; • Few staff were on duty at night in a number of homes;
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MUSTER EASE PAST EDINBURGH: PAGE 32
Easy Pickings as Munster bag bonus point with four tries
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Coffin cut back The Voice at a glance
Suicide One family’s story Michael and Rose Hayes talk about the death of their child, Patrick, by suicide and how they dealt with their constant grief.
Abortion 159 Limerick abortions
Recessionary times take a tole on our loved ones as the people of Limerick reduce funeral costs.
Development €2.5m owed to CC
Limerick women are travelling to the Limerick developers to be chased UK for abortions an investigation by through the courts to recoup unpaid development levies from boom. The City Voice can reveal.
Exclusive interview with Munster’s Conor Murray on what a great year it has been for the Patrickswell man. [ Page 25
Businesses fear January [ Page 12
Val Holmes speaks about his time in the iconic store and what it means to dress its windows for last 37 years.
Culture History of Belltable The City Voice takes a trip down memory lane at the Belltable Arts Centre in Limerick City for it’s 30th anniversary. [
City Woman Fashion forward The woman’s guide to fashion, health, beauty and style for the Christmas season. The City Voice takes to the streets to find the best bargains on a budget.
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Plumbers are set for a bumper season
Milk Market launch festive celebrations Sharon Whelton LIMERICK is feeling festive as the Milk Market gets their Christmas celebrations underway. The Christmas market, with more than 60 shops and stalls launches today, December 1. Theresa Storey runs the Green Apron Artisan Preserve Company in Limerick, and also hosts a stall on Saturdays. The businesswoman was surprised to see such a large turnout at the market last year, but believes that people really want to support local businesses. “The buzz and the atmosphere last year was surprisingly good, particularly when it was so cold,” Ms Storey said. “There were an awful lot of people visiting the market, as they were very committed to buying locally. “We sell gift baskets at our stall, and they proved extremely popular last year. This year, I think that the market will be even busier, as people really are determined to shop locally,” she said. The market runs from Thursdays
Peter Lee PLUMBERS around the country are set for a bumper Christmas season if the country experiences another harsh winter. Managing Director of Lenmac Mechanical Services John Lenihan, told The City Voice that last year’s winter was like none he had ever seen before. “The weather conditions that we encountered from Christmas Day onwards last year was unprecedented. “My workload increased dramatically because of the frost. It started on Christmas morning about 9am. The damage that was done was unbelievable... It went on for about 10 or 12 consecutive days,” he said. Meanwhile Robert O’Grady, a plumber with O’Grady Plumbing and Heating, said the harsh weather last year also brought about a surge in heating repairs. “The main problems would have been burst pipes and heating breakdowns. People couldn’t last without their heating for more than 24 hours, so there was a surge in heating repairs and people without water,” he said. “The workload for one-off call outs would probably have increased by about 300 or 400 percent,” he said.
Opera centre could be sold to colleges Michaela Ingram LIMERICK City Council is hoping to sell a portion of the newly-bought Opera Centre to either UL or LIT, according to a number of councillors. The site, which is the single biggest derelict site in any city centre nationwide, was bought by the City Council last week, with funds provided by the Department of the Environment’s regeneration budget. “We have been in discussions with both the University and the Institute of Technology as regards purchasing a section of the complex for academic purposes,” said Cllr Diarmuid Scully (FG). “With historic sites in place around the Opera centre, such as King John’s Castle, the location would be perfect motivation for the likes of a library, or maybe a postgraduate study area. “It is crucial to the development of the city. It’s the biggest single derelict site in any city centre nationwide,” he added.
Friday December 2, 2011 | 3
to Sundays until Christmas Eve, in addition to all of Christmas week. However, stalls are not the only attraction to the Milk Market, as some of Ireland’s leading bands are performing in the lead up to Christmas. Last Friday, November 25, saw Dublin band The Coronas kick off proceedings with their gig on Cornmarket Row, with Bell X1 and Imelda May also due to perform in the coming weeks (Friday, December 2 and Friday, December 23 respectively). Speaking before last Friday’s gig, lead singer of The Coronas, Danny O’Reilly, spoke of his delight at returning to Limerick. “We’re so honoured and delighted to be turning on the Christmas lights in Limerick,” said Mr O’Reilly. “We love the city and it’s always been a place where we’ve had amazing shows, even when we were just starting out. “Friday will be the first gig on our Christmas tour and we’re so excited about it anyway. The fact that it’s in the Milk Market is just adding to the excitement,” he said.
A cheesy Christmas Jason Kennedy MORE than 12 tonnes of Government cheese is to be handed out to those in need in Limerick this Christmas. The free cheddar, which is part of the EU funded Free Cheese scheme, is available to pick up from 16 charities across Limerick City and county. For Limerick, the voluntary organisations collected the cheese at Orchard Warehouse and Colso Enterprises, both in Cork. Manager of St Patrick’s SVP Hostel, Gerry White, has already received 20 boxes of free cheese with a total weight of 240kg. Mr White said the cheese makes an enormous difference. “People are delighted to get the cheese and you wouldn’t believe the difference it makes to us and our budget. The whole scheme makes a huge difference. “We have 47 homeless men in here at any one time, so the scheme really is a lifesaver when it comes to feeding all of them. We’ve been getting the cheese delivered here for at least 10 years.” However, Mr White says there used to be a lot more provided by the Government in previous years. “We used to get free beef and free butter as well, but them [sic] mountains have now gone. Then again we’re in a completely different economic climate now. There are people that have contributed to the society over the years, and now they are also in need.”
Limerick City Council
The Redemptorist Poor Campaign has also received free cheese from the Department of Agriculture. They will be using the free cheese in their 8,000 hampers, which they send around to people in need just before Christmas, according to the campaign’s Director, Fr Adrian Egan. “We put the cheese in our hampers, along with a variety of other items, like chickens, tea, butter, tinned food and bacon. It helps to feed a family for a few days over the Christmas period. It means a lot to people who literally can’t afford to put food on their table.”
St Vincent de Paul’s Brendan Dempsey said there is always a lot of requests for the free cheese since it was widely publicised last year. “People are delighted to be getting the cheese. We have had an incredible amount of people calling in to see if they can get it. I have a big list of clients that are looking for the cheese. “Of course people will be embarrassed. People are always embarrassed when they ask for help, but people have to ask for help when there are children going to bed hungry.”
So far, permits are issued for 186 tonnes of cheese to be given to charities nationwide this year. There is a minimum order of one box, which contains 12 x 1kg blocks of cheese and has a six-month shelf life if stored in proper conditions. There is no maximum amount that can be ordered, as charities request cheese relative to the number of clients they deal with on a daily or weekly basis. They can request more cheese when required and if stocks are still available. Nearly seven tonnes of cheese was handed out to charities in Limerick last year.
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“We have finally turned the corner with tourism in Limerick this year.” Sean Lally, General Manager, Strand Hotel - Opinion page 16
€2.5m owed in upaid development levies Limerick City Council to take court action against indebted developers Craig Hughes ALMOST €2.5 million is owed to Limerick City Council in unpaid development levies from insolvent builders, The City Voice can reveal. The debt, accumulated by some of the country’s biggest developers, has left the city council with a dramatic financial shortfall. In many cases, developers have been left insolvent after the collapse of the property market. Furthermore, portions of the debt owed relates to developments which have not yet commenced - with councils left hoping development eventually occurs if they are to have any chance of recouping the debt. While in Opposition, now Minister for Environment and Local Government, Phil Hogan insisted that local councils should be given authority to exchange the debts for equity while in the long term the levies should be scrapped. “There isn’t any point in development levies in the first place because they discourage development, especially at a time when we are attempting to get as many people back to work as possible,” he said. “In regards to outstanding debt councils should be given authorisation by the minister to enter into negotiations with these developers to seek equity in exchange for the debt, such as property, which could be then
used for social housing,” he added. However, since taking office Minister Hogan has not addressed the issue of development levies or the outstanding debts owed to Limerick city council, as well as the other respective councils nationwide. Minister Hogan declined the opportunity to clarify his stance on the issue. A spokesperson for the Department of the Environment acknowledged the declining rates in development contributions being paid, however, he failed to clarify if the department had changed its stance of pursing unpaid levies. “Local authorities have witnessed a steep decline in the revenues from these schemes and it is certain that development contributions income will continue to be adversely impacted in the current economic climate. “It is important to acknowledge also that a number of local authorities have already responded to the very difficult economic circumstances that currently exist by amending their respective development contribution schemes to reduce the contribution rates in particular for employment generating projects,” he said “I am confident that new guidance will enable authorities to achieve the right balance into the future between generating the revenues required to provide the necessary infrastructure associated with new development
Oxfam 40% drop in donation JANNA MURPHY
Limerick City Council
and creating the right conditions to support economic activity and renewal.” A spokesperson for Limerick city council insisted that all debt owed to the council was being pursued. “The council is seeking payment in relation to all unpaid development levies. Where payment is not forthcoming a payment plan is offered, failing this we try and recoup the money through the courts,” she said. Development levies vary drastically from the minimum charge of €34
to the maximum charge of €28,000. The levy is calculated based on the size of the development as well as the public facilities the development will benefit from such as roads, water, sewage, parks and any other facilities provided by the council. Nationally, councils are owed almost a quarter of a billion euro in unpaid development levies since the recession hit. In addition, local authorities are all on stand-by for major cuts because of a shortage in finances – including that from development contributions.
DONATIONS have dropped by 40 percent in Limerick’s Oxfam branch this year. However, Gorta on High Street recorded a 1.1 percent growth in income last year while Enable Ireland staff also noticed an overall increase in custom. Enable Ireland Store Manager Angela Gleeso said “we put our initial dip in custom down to the renovations on William Street. The variety and amount of customers has increased very much since then.” A small portion of stock is donated to Oxfam by large textile companies. These never worn items are re-sold at a fraction of the price but the store still relies on local donations. Oxfam Store Manager Geraldine Kennedy said: “Charity shops can be the ‘in thing’, we have quality items and everyone loves a bargain but our custom and donations have been steadily decreasing for the past two years.” Oxfam launched the ‘Make Space for Oxfam’ campaign to increase local donations. Musician Sharon Corr and broadcasters Miriam O Callaghan and Tom Dunne are all supporting the initiative. The campaign urges Limerick locals to donate any spare or unwanted clothes or goods taking up space in wardrobes and on shelves. Miriam O Callaghan donated her “lucky” dress worn at her sons christening and Tom Dunne donated a live David Bowie album that he bought in 1974. Sharon Corr donated a violin.
High commercial rates driving business out of city Roisin Delaney BUSINESSES in Limerick city are paying some of the highest commercial rates in the country, with businesses relocating outside the city limits in order to save money. The rates, which are set annually by the city council, are 20 percent higher than the national average. The extremely high rates are driving businesses out of the city limits and into the suburbs where they pay a significantly lower rate set by the county council. Commercial rates are calculated based on the value of the property,
which is evaluated by an independent Commissioner, multiplied by the standard rate set by the council. Limerick City TD Willie O’Dea insisted immediate change was needed in order to secure an affordable rate for businesses in the city. “The whole system needs to be revamped. I know it’s a big job but the budget provides a great opportunity for change within the finance bill. “The Government needs to realise that if nothing is done we will end up in a situation where no rates are paid because due to the economic climate businesses simply won’t be able to afford to pay them,” he said.
“What the government needs to do, in this budget, is introduce a clause whereas business can appeal their rate on the basis that their circumstances have changed. We need people paying what they can afford,” he added. President of the Limerick City Chamber of Commerce, Kieran McSweeney, said the council needed to reduce the rates immediately as retailers continued to be burdened by high running costs. “If you look back over the last 15 months, on average, one retail shop a week closed down in the city. The rates are just another cost burden that
retailers could do without.” Mr McSweeney said the Council needed to drop the rates by a quarter. “My concern is that they will wait until 2014 when the city and county councils are due to be amalgamated; this merger needs to be accelerated and should be done this year. “The problem in Limerick is severe, in some cases rates are as high as rent. The City Council has a limited budget and unless they make up the income somewhere else they can’t lower the rates,” he added. At the moment commercial rates account for 45 percent of the City Councils budget. In other councils
about 30 per cent of income comes from rates according to figures. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the high commercial rates are resulting in an increase in vacant properties within the city centre. Businesses may be opting to relocate to cheaper suburban areas outside of the city limits where the commercial rates are significantly lower than in the centre. A survey by the City Voice found that 60per cent of shoppers chose to shop outside of the city for their Christmas shopping due to lack of choice and the poor atmosphere within the city centre.
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4,402 Irish women travelled abroad for abortions last year
Friday December 2, 2011 | 5
Abortions on the rise in Limerick FROM PAGE ONE CEO of the Irish Family Planning Association, Niall Behan said that there are many reasons why a woman would terminate a pregnancy. “The reasons why women have abortions are complex, there is no single issue. It could be medical, social, or financial. In this way, women from Limerick are no different,” he said. He further added that the rising number of women from Limerick going to the UK for the procedure could be because they are no longer travelling to the Netherlands, which emerged as a popular choice after the introduction of the Euro. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is an organisation that helps Irish women travel to the UK for the procedure. Their spokesperson, Clare Murphy told The City Voice that economic difficulties are often cited as the grounds to terminate a pregnancy. “Financial reasons are always a factor,” she said. “However, a reces-
sion can work in a number of ways. “It may force women to re-evaluate family life and chose to stay at home and raise a family instead of working,” she said. Ms Murphy added that women from Ireland are also purchasing abortion pills online. “I think that the issue of buying pills online is a problem in Ireland because of the difficulty in seeking services. I know that customs in Ireland seize the abortion pill Mifepristone every year,” she said. Meanwhile Mr Behan also noted that the purchase of abortion pills online is a growing problem. “There is a rise in women contacting our helplines asking about abortion pills. It is an issue,” he said. “Abortion should be available in Ireland under proper medical supervision,” he added. CURA spokesperson Charlotte Keery said that the recession has changed the way people feel about having a baby. “Because of the financial situation, pregnancies are becoming a cri-
sis for some people,” she said. “The first thing that can come to mind is ‘I don’t want this, I’m having an abortion’. “We also get a lot of men contacting our services who are frustrated and feel like they are not in charge of the situation,” she added. Fine Gael Councillor for Limerick City South Ger Fahy said that woman should have access to support before making the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. “Women should be able to meet with agencies before any decision is made,” he said. “Advice and support should be there for anyone considering an abortion. “Abortion is a last resort for any woman. A woman who is under terrible pressure should be able to have a full discussion with someone before going through with the decision.” Cllr Fahy added that the issue of legalising abortion in Ireland could be due for debate. “It is a question that could be up for consideration,” he said. “However, abortion is a national issue. The
Oireachtas has to ensure that help is there.” Limerick is not the only county that saw an increase in women seeking abortions. In Dublin, the number of women who had an abortion in the UK rose from 1,238 in 2008 to 1,583 in 2010, an increase of almost 30 percent. Figures for Cork also increased in the last two years; 257 women travelled to the UK for an abortion in 2008 while 353 travelled in 2010. Meanwhile in Waterford there was a slight decrease in women travelling to the UK for a termination, from 83 in 2008 to 79 last year. The price of an abortion in the UK ranges from £525 to £1,660 however, the cost of the procedure varies depending on how far the pregnancy has progressed. For information and advice about pregnancy you can contact the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) at 01 8069444 or see www.ifpa.ie.
Limerick needs support for Crohn’s
Forced out by rats
A WOMAN who has undergone numerous operations due to Crohn’s disease says Limerick needs a support group for people with the condition. Laura Madigan (pictured) 32, was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease in 2006 and says the “horribly degrading, lonely and excruciatingly painful disease” would have been much easier to live with if there was a support group in the area. Ms Madigan says when she was diagnosed, the only person she could talk to about the disease, which causes ulcerations in the small and large intestine, was her nurse in Kerry. “Crohn’s disease is extremely degrading, not least because talking about it is very taboo. People who aren’t really familiar with the disease don’t want to hear about your bowels or how many times you’ve been to the toilet each day. I’m used to it now though. I have no problem talking about it,” she said. In the early stages of her illness, Ms Madigan says that she hadn’t met anyone that had the same condition as her, but her family, including her two young sons, adapted to her condition very fast. “My kids have no problem with the condition now. It is just part of everyday life,” she said.
However, after her first operation, Ms Madigan brought her children to the Crescent Shopping Centre to buy them toys, but the Crohn’s started affecting her again. “I had to lock myself in the disabled toilets for some time. I remember the tears just streaming down my face when it happened. I swore that day that I would never let anything like this ever happen to me again. “After years of surgery and treatment, I’m at a point that I’m happy with. I went for aqua aerobics this morning. I’m very proud of all that’s been done. If there was a support group here I’d be more than happy to help people who are going through what I went through.” At present, one of the most commonly used support groups for people in Limerick with Crohn’s disease is the ‘Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Ireland’ Facebook page, which currently has 610 members, including Ms Madigan, who is very happy with the support it provides. “The Facebook page is actually unbelievable. It offers such great communication with people who are going through the same things as I am. Right now I am in contact with a girl who is getting the same surgery that I had, so I am glad to be there for moral support. “At the same time though, there is nothing better than face to face con-
tact. I know there’s a support group up in Dublin and there’s a meet down in Cork, but it’s just not feasible for me to go that far when I have young kids.” In Cork there are already steps being made to make Munster’s first full-time support group for people with Crohn’s disease called ‘Cork, Crohn’s and Coffee’. The group was set up by Englishman, Ben Freeman, who says the group will be in an informal environment.
A PREGNANT woman living in a council house in St Mary’s Park was forced to move out of her home after her property became infested with rats. Jessica McNamara (31) of St Mary’s Park had to move out of her home two months ago for three weeks due to her back garden being infested with rodents. The then pregnant mother of six felt she had to move out after finding a rat in her home. “I spent three weeks in my mother’s house, with me and my six kids sleeping in a single room,” said Ms McNamara. Limerick Corporation sent out pest control to put down rat poison in her garden over the three weeks. According to Ms McNamara after moving back into the house, she threw out all her infants’ possessions, worried they could have been unsafe. Thomas Kelly, Senior Executive Engineer in housing demolitions for the Regeneration project team in Limerick City Council said that they foresaw this problem before beginning the demolition of houses and that they recognise the presence of rats. “That is why we bait the property before demolition.” He added that the level of complaints they are receiving is normal,
especially for this time of year. When they receive a complaint from an occupied house, the housing maintenance will investigate and carry out the necessary baiting procedure. “Part of the process is removing environments rats may inhabit, such as boarded properties, domestic waste and hedging. We are creating an environment that doesn’t attract rats and we are cleaning up the area as we go,” said Mr Kelly. Another woman, Mary McGrath (47)of St Munchins Street told the City Voice there had been derelict houses knocked across the road and directly behind her council house. The family dog they kept in the back garden was killing up to 14 rats a week. She added: “Six months ago a rat got into my roof. I could hear it in the ceiling from my kitchen.” Local councillor for the area, John Gilligan, said that he was “absolutely horrified at the way things have been going.” He added that it is ‘part and parcel’ of the regeneration of the area to control the rodents and not having this problem under control is “way above what is acceptable.” Mr Gilligan explained there’s a health and safety issue involved for the residents. “The rat’s urine can result in disease; they’re a major health hazard so there is something we have to do.”
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Roll back on funeral spending Patricia Murphy
John Ruan Fitpatrick from New York, now studing music in Limerick, plays some classic rock in the City.
LIMERICK people are spending less on funeral services since 2008, according to a spokesperson from the Irish Association of Funeral Directors. Gus Nichols of the IAFD said that the amount people are spending on services has dropped by up to 14% and is having an effect on funeral directors in Limerick. “Pre-recession the average amount of money people were spending on funerals was €5000 - €5200 and now this has dropped to an average of €4500,” he said. According to Mr Nichols, the number of people choosing to repose the dead in their family homes is on the rise and this is impacting funeral homes in the area. “There has been a revival of the Irish tradition to have wakes in the family home and this is quite worrisome for businesses that have put a huge amount of capital into building facilities to cater for this need,” he said. Mr Nichols said that people are purchasing less expensive coffins and caskets and this is having an effect on the profits being made from the sale of these items. An increasing number of people are choosing not to repose the deceased and are instead opting to bring
the remains straight to the church. Seamus Cross a director in Joseph Cross and Sons Funeral Home said there has been an increase in the number of people holding funerals in one day. “People are choosing to have the service in one day, removing the wake all together and this has an effect on the funeral directors,” he said. Meanwhile, according to Mr Nichols, Funeral Directors are experiencing difficulties with clients who will not settle their bills. “Delays in people paying for services has always been a problem in this industry and it is difficult to extract money from wills of the state but it has definitely gotten slower in the last few years. “The more worrying thing is the level of bad debt in relation to people who can’t pay or won’t pay and it’s on the rise unfortunately,” he said. Cremation is becoming a popular option for people in the city because it can be cheaper than burying the deceased. The cost of pre-purchasing a pathway plot in Limerick’s Mount St. Oliver Cemetery is €1210. A pre-purchased inside plot amounts to €980. Frank Murphy, Manager of The Island Crematorium in Cork said that in the past five years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people seeking cremation from Lim-
erick and other counties in Munster. “Our business is on the up and more people are choosing cremation over burial. For most it is a personal choice,” he said. Mr Murphy also said that the limited space in Irish graveyards is pushing people towards cremation. “Some people are choosing cremation so that more remains can fit in a family plot in a graveyard,” he said Limerick City Cemetery Services Superintendent, Flan Haskett said that he has also seen an increase in the number of people being cremated in Limerick. “There has been a rise in cremations but people are burying cremated remains. Many cremated remains can fit in one family plot.” Funeral Director Seamus Cross said the recession is impacting the businesses around the city and funeral homes are no different. “People are spending less on funerals since the recession and this does have an impact,” he said. Gus Nichols of the IAFD said that the economic downturn has greatly impacted the funeral business. “People see the funeral business as untouchable because people are always dying. “Sure the phone rings just the same as before but like any industry we are being seriously affected by the decline,” he added.
Animal welfare home warns of increase in abandoned pets
Limerick City creches some of the cheapest in Munster
IN the past week, Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) has seen the arrival and death of an 11-week-old terrier called Herbie (pictured). He was so malnourished and neglected that carers originally believed he was a mere three weeks old. Herbie was subjected to such horrendous conditions that permanent and irreversible damage was caused, which ultimately led to his death. “The dogs that arrive to the sanctuary that carry infections are dangerous to the other animals, because we don’t have the necessary isolation units,” according to Marion Fitzgibbon, chairperson of LAW. Just three weeks before this case, two thoroughbred Yorkshire terriers were found abandoned outside the sanctuary. It was believed that the mother terrier had been knocked down by her abandoners, and the son Gizmo, had been left frightened and in a vulnerable state. Gizmo, who is just over a year old, had to be shaved bald because his coat was so matted and knotted. “His condition was so appalling that we had to leave the room we were working in every ten minutes for fresh air,” said LAW worker Ann Kelly. According to Ms Fitzgibbon, the
LIMERICK City crèches are among the cheapest in Munster, a City Voice investigation can reveal. The average price in Limerick City is €160 per week for full time childcare, while in comparison Cork City averaged €180 per week and Waterford a total of €170 per week. Childcare in the towns of Munster are generally cheaper than cities, with prices ranging around €145 in Ennis, Co Clare and €155 in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. However, Tralee in Co Kerry was the exception, as prices soared to €170. Prices around Limerick City also varied, with Poppins Pre-School Professionals in Gerald Street among the higher rates at €165 per week, while Pebbled Pathways in Grove Island rated among the cheapest, with €145 per week. Cork City had much wider differences in rates, with Pathways Childcare in Maryborough Woods, Douglas, charging €200 per week, while Tir Na Nóg Creche in the Glen Resource and Sports Centre charged only €154 per week. Fine Gael councillor for Limerick City South, Maria Byrne, believes there is “value for money” to be found in the city. She said the low prices are “a great encouragement and opportu-
main problem is that people are no longer able to afford big dogs, especially bitches. LAW has seen numerous pregnant bitches and litters of thoroughbred puppies abandoned because people can’t afford to pay approximately €150 for neutering. Since spring of this year, LAW has seen an increase in the amount of animals brought to their sanctuary in Kilfinane, Co. Limerick. The sanctuary only has room for two dogs however they currently house eight. They were set to increase their facility size, but due to lack of funds the new premises were shut down two months ago. According to Ms Fitzgibbon, €450,000 is the annual figure needed by the Limerick Animal Welfare to stay functioning. The Government have been supplying LAW with less than €20,000 since the last four years; this figure would last “just two weeks in January for horses alone,” she said. The sanctuary started stabling horses two years. They currently house around 15 horses however there are only sufficient facilities for 10. So far this year, a record 201 horses have been rounded up in the City. The horses that are brought to LAW have usually been reported to the Gardaí from black spot areas. They are normally found suffering
from hair loss and pneumonia due to negligence and abuse. The worst area in Limerick this year for neglected horses is the Groody Roundabout. Just days ago, there were reports of a white horse in the area with a broken leg, while a foal was running out on the main road. The field where approximately 15 horses and ponies graze has been eaten bare and the horses are starving. Builder’s rubble is also in the field, which is dangerous as the horses can damage their hooves on the metal. The dykes lined with barbed wire in the field are extremely dangerous, and a horse carcass was found in one of them.
nity” for the people of Limerick City, especially parents who are looking for work in the city and will need the use of childcare facilities. She also praised the childcare facilities in the city as “people will receive a very good level of service” and it is her understanding “that there is no one on a waiting list and there are adequate childcare facilities”. A report published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in 2009 showed that Dublin was the most expensive county for childcare, with childcare facilities charging on average €192 per week. Irish parents pay among the highest childcare fees in Europe. A report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2010 showed that parents in Ireland spend an average of 29 percent of their total income on childcare costs.
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Road works finally come to a close Róisín Delaney CONSTRUCTION work on the main Dublin to Limerick Road is coming to an end, according to County Councillor Mary Harty. The road works, costing €1.1 million in the Newtown-Annacotty area and €2.7 million for the development of the Plassey area, commenced at the beginning of the school term in September. “The works are to be completed before Christmas”, said Cllr Harty, who is a resident in the locality of the road network disturbances. This comes as some reassurance to regular drivers of the route before the harsh winter weather starts this Christmas season. Cllr Harty told the City Voice that the road development is part of a movement to construct a “smarter travel initiative”. “The traffic works aim to create a city bound bus lane, cycle lanes and footpaths and lighting for pedestrians,” she said.
Thomondgate work starts Gary Whelan MORE than €10,000 in funding has been secured from the Limerick Regeneration Agency for a new sports development in Thomondgate on the Long Pavement Road. Northside Legacy FC will be the main beneficiaries from the funding with development beginning immediately on two new pitches and a changing facility. Club secretary, Frankie Daly, insists the funding is essential as the club was being forced to rent training facilities and play their home games in Southill due to the absence their own facilities. “We have been depending on lifts and paying for cabs to bring us to games on a Sunday, this facility is long overdue for this side of town,” he said.
Prostitutes line city streets Craig Hughes PROSTITUTES from Ireland and abroad are publically soliciting sex on the streets of Limerick, The City Voice can reveal. It comes as the former Mayor, Maria Byrne, confirmed she has complained to gardaí about on-street prostitution in the city centre. A number of addresses across the city are being used for the purposes of prostitution, including apartments near Henry St, Patrick St, Tait Square and William St according to advertisements freely available on the internet. Councillor Maria Byrne told The City Voice she had received a number of complaints from constituents who said they felt intimidated walking the city’s streets. “I have received complaints from people around the city and I have made a complaint to the gardai about it and the gardai are trying to clampdown and have made a number of arrests in recent times,” she said. “It’s very obvious on the street and people have felt intimidated by them. “I’m not entirely sure who is behind it all, you see a lot of non-Irish but you also see some Irish women on the streets. Some people were genuinely quite upset but it is something that has always been there. I have brought it to the attention of the inspector,” she added. Garda Superintendent Frank O’Brien said they are actively investigating prostitution in the city and that he believes gardai in Limerick City are doing enough to stem the tide of vice in the city.
“It is not the first time we have had a brothel on Henry St. We have taken very strong action against activity in relation to the running of brothels. “I am perfectly satisfied with the current operation and it is proving to be very effective. “We expect to have a number of people before Limerick District Court next week in relation to prostitution offences under ‘Operation Freewheel’,” he said. Meanwhile, Sinn Fein Councillor, Maurice Quinlivan said he was troubled by evidence of visible prostitution on the streets of the city and is worried about young women being trafficked to work in the sex trade. “I am very concerned that young women are being trafficked into the city to work in the sex trade. They seem to be openly selling sex on the street. “Myself and a few party colleagues witnessed it for ourselves on Catherine St last weekend. “It’s very worrying and upsetting to see young women on the streets like that,” he said. Cllr Quinlivan previously raised the issue at the Joint Policing Committee but believes a change in legislation is necessary to deal with the current epidemic on the city’s streets. “We need to find out who is bringing these women into the country as well as those who are availing of their services because if there was no market there would be no problem,” he added. A number of websites are openly advertising as ‘escort services’. At least 50 escorts a week are available in the Limerick area.
Friday December 2, 2011 | 7
[Above]: Henry St Garda Station; [Below]: Cllr Maurice Quinlivan; [Below left]: Former Mayor Maria Byrne
Prostitution and the law in Ireland PROSTITUTION IS a criminal offence under Irish law. Under the 1993 Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, it is illegal to solicit or importune another person in a street or public place for the purposes of prostitution. The offence applies to both the prostitute and client. It is also an offence to loiter for the purpose of prostitution.
Brothel keeping and socalled ‘pimping’ is also an offence; as are coercing others to practice prostitution for gain, and living on the earnings of the prostitution of another person. Specific legislation also exists banning child prostitution and sex trafficking.
“There is no evidence that criminalising will eradicate this heinous situation” Dr Siobhan O’Connor, Doras Luimni -Opinion page 16
Class size worry for teachers PLANS to increase class sizes will have a detrimental effect on pupils and teachers according to a Limerick principal, writes Sophie McDermott. The Department of Education and Skills are proposing to implement a new policy, which means that every class would see an increase of one pupil. This would bring class numbers from approximately 27 pupils to 28 and potentially result in the loss of one teaching post per school. Principal of local Limerick primary school An Mhodh Scoil, Diarmuid Ò Murchù, said that pupils will suffer from lack of attention
from their teachers. “The greater the opportunity the teacher has to communicate with their pupils, results in the better chance these pupils will have to fulfill their full potential. However, by increasing the numbers of pupils in classes, this means there is less opportunities to have such communications with these pupils,” he said. Principal Ò Murchù stressed that if these measures are implemented, a certain amount of pupils could be left behind. Classes would have to be redistributed to ensure the pupils have a teacher
for the school year. “The effect of being one teacher down is managing the 25 pupils that were taught by that teacher,” he said. The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn told The City Voice that the class size proposal has been debated for years. Minister Quinn explained that the proposals should not have a profound effect on the standard of teaching being received by pupils. “Teachers should have the ability to cope with an increase in the class and still help them to reach their full potential.”
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8 | the City Voice
More speed cameras needed says top Inspector Amber Galwey
it,” said Mr Reidy. Go Safe, which operates its own safety camera vans throughout the country worked together with the Traffic Corps in implementing safety vans around Limerick. “We worked together to determine locations in Limerick for the safety vans to operate from. The locations are predetermined by places that have had serious accidents in the previous five years”, Insp Reidy said. Since the implementation of these safety cameras last November, the death toll on Limerick roads has not decreased. Fatalities are still considerably high as thirteen people have died to date this year. Mr Reidy said: “Thankfully fatali-
SPEED cameras in Limerick have not decreased the death toll as the number of fatalities on Limerick roads is “on par with last year” according to a Traffic Corps Inspector. Limerick is unable to utilise the one speed van available to them efficiently as it must be shared amongst other counties, Paul Reidy, Limerick’s Traffic Corps Inspector told The City Voice. “We would like to have more mobile camera units but we don’t. We share the van with other counties in the South, like Kerry and parts of Cork, so we get it on a rotation basis. We would utilise it more if we had
ties are not increasing, but there are a number of factors that contribute to accidents; speeding, drunk driving, dangerous driving, using mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts are the most common causes of accidents on the roads. “Driver fatigue is becoming an increasingly more popular reason for accidents, and that is hard to police against. Drivers must take responsibility for their safety and make sure they get from A to B.” However, Mr Noel Brett, CEO of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), says safety cameras are helping to reduce speed on the roads. “There is no question but that the safety cameras are saving lives. Our own research
shows that public support for the use of safety cameras has jumped from 76 percent in October 2010 to 87 percent in September 2011. 60 percent of the public in Ireland now believe that it is unacceptable to break the speed limit at all.” Limerick Traffic Corps works with schools to eliminate the problem of learner-permit drivers who are driving alone. Mr Reidy explains this initiative, “Operation Meanscoil involves us travelling to secondary schools around Limerick City and County. We provide regular checks at the schools and insure that learner drivers aren’t driving unaccompanied and that all students who are driving alone have their full licences.”
€ost of democracy
Limerick City Constituency
Michael Noonan €169,275 + €12,719 exes
Jan O’Sullivan €130,042 + €18,456 exes
Willie O’Dea €92,672 + €40,499 exes
Kieran O’Donnell €92,672 + €29,146 exes
Kerry North West Limerick
Dan Neville TD Fine Gael Salary: €92,672 Expenses: €42,960* Total: €135,632
Jimmy Deenihan TD Fine Gael, Minister Salary €169,275 Expenses: €12,883 Total: €182,158
Niall Collins TD Fianna Fail Salary: €92,672 Expenses: €40,531 Total: €133,203
Martin Ferris TD Sinn Fein Salary: €92,672 Expenses: €34,998 Total: €127,670
Patrick O’Donovan Fine Gael Salary: €92,672 Expenses: €35,591 Total: €128,263
Arthur Spring TD Labour Salary: €92,672 Expenses: €36,196 Total: €128,868
Salaries are for full year 2011. Expenses are for nine months to September 30 last. * Includes allowance for Oireachtas Commission membership
What Limerick’s TDs got paid in salaries and what they claimed so far in expenses in 2011 Karen O’Connor Desmond Chief Reporter
2,602 Hours of Rape Crisis counseling in Mid West 2010
SOME of Limerick’s TDs are claiming an average of €1,000 a week in tax free expenses on top of salaries of more than €90,000, the City Voice can reveal. The county’s 10 TDs claimed more than €303,980 in expenses in the nine months to September on top of €1.1m in salaries, a total of €1.42m. However the figure for the full year is likely to be much higher as expense claims for the last quarter have yet to be released. Former minister and Fianna Fail TD Willie O’Dea tops the list in the Limerick City constituency with more than €40,000 claimed in expenses between January and September this year. In the Limerick constituency, Fianna Fail’s Niall Collins also claimed more than €40,000 expenses in the nine months to September 30.
In Kerry North West Limerick, Labour TD Arthur Spring is the highest claimant with more than €36,000 in expenses. Excluding ministers, the lowest claimant is Fine Gael TD and Dail Public Accounts Committee vice chairman Kieran O’ Donnell, who claimed €29,000. Ministers Michael Noonan, Jimmy Deenihan and Jan O’ Sullivan have relatively modest claims. Minister Noonan claimed just €12,700 while Minister O’ Sullivan claimed €18,000. Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan claimed €12,883. Both cabinet ministers have access to Garda drivers and a state car on official business, while Minister O’Sullivan who is Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs can claim mileage for official travel. However their salaries are much higher. Michael Noonan and Jimmy Deenihan have a salary of just under €170,000 each, while Jan O’ Sulli-
van’s salary is €130,000. Along with generous expenses and salaries, TDs can also claim allowances for various roles. Dan Neville TD will get €9,500 for being a member of the Oireactas Commission this year. TDs can also claim a mobile phone allowance for a new mobile phone and car kit every 18 months. Niall Collins’ figure includes €730 under this heading. The two new TDs Arthur Spring and Patrick O’ Donovan are both entitled to claim an €8,000 one off grant to go towards the cost of setting up a new office in their constituencies. The records show neither deputy has claimed the grant so far. Along with the generous salaries and expenses regime, Limerick TDs also get an allowance of 1,250 envelopes with free post each month and they are entitled to a Dail secretary and a parliamentary assistant, whose salaries are paid for by the State.
TDs are entitled to a full pension after 20 years service. TDs expenses claims have come down significantly since the introduction of the new parliamentary standard allowance last year. TDs now claim expenses based on the days they turned up for work in the Dail. TDs are paid expenses based on their distance from the Dail. Limerick based TDs get a similar mileage allowance, while the Kerry TDs get more. They can also claim for hotels and meals, office expenses, phone bills and overseas travel on official business. An analysis of the attendance rates of Limerick’s TDs reveals that in all cases deputies had a high rate of attendance. None of the TDs contacted were available for comment on this story. Some of the information in this article was released under the Freedom of Information Act.
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Friday December 2, 2011 | 9
Nursing home residents not washed One in five to for three weeks in State owned home callers St Vincent
Karen O’Connor Desmond Chief Reporter
OFFICIAL HIQA inspection reports on a number of State owned and private nursing homes have uncovered problems in the standards of care of the elderly in Co Limerick. HIQA, the Health Information and Quality Authority, reported that some elderly residents in St Camillus’ Hospital in Limerick City had a bath or shower only every three weeks, in a report in late May. Bed baths were given daily. Relatives complained to HIQA that residents’ hair was unwashed, and that some spent all or most of the day in bed. The report said there was not enough dining space for all residents. Some residents had to eat meals beside their beds as a result. Residents complained that food was sometimes cold. Three quarters of patients in St Camillus’ are high or maximum dependency. The report said that some wards were cramped. Not enough space was provided for personal items in some cases and clothes sometimes went missing or were damaged. A report on St Ita’s Community Hospital in Newcastle West in March this year also found a series of problems. HIQA reported that there were a lack of proper fire safety procedures in place and ordered hospital management to immediately close a smoking area under a stairs, which breached fire safety rules. The report stated that no fire drill had taken place for two years, even though best practice is that one should be undertaken every six months. Not all staff were trained in fire safety. HIQA also said there was an inadequate number of fire emergency escape plans on display throughout
the centre. Kitchens in the hospital were not as clean as they should have been. Staff records were incomplete with missing Garda vetting applications and medical declarations of fitness files. Storage space was very limited; there was a lack of sanitary facilities in some areas; and residents did not have access to dedicated areas for meals, relaxation and recreation as is required by legislation. Eamon Timmins, Chief Executive of Age Action Ireland, highlighted the serious nature of the findings and insisted that they were simply unacceptable. “These are the kind of issues that are very, very important. Bathing can be an issue for people but every three weeks doesn’t sound acceptable,” he said. Mr Timmins said that not having the appropriate fire safety procedures in place could lead to a “nightmare scenario” and it is “essential that we don’t let standards slide”. Limerick Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins criticised the HSE for not following best practice and stressed the need for strict protocol to be followed in future. “It is incumbent that people should know what the drill is as it could ultimately save people’s lives. Hygiene is also very important and people should be bathed as much as is required,” he said. In a statement, the HSE said St Ita’s hospital did not require a fire safety cert under building regulations because the building dated from the 1800s. In relation to concerns regarding St Camillus’ hospital raised by HIQA, the spokesman said that residents through their own choice or due to medical condition or care needs would not be given daily baths or showers but were always given daily bed baths. “The nursing staff under the lead-
de Paul are new
St Camillus Hospital, Shelbourne Rd Anna Falk
ership and supervision of the Clinical Nurse Manager determines the care required and how the residents’ individual care needs are best met on any given day,” he added. A spokeswoman for HIQA refused to comment on individual reports. Minor problems were recorded in reports of several other nursing homes across the city and county in the 11 months to November. In a number of cases, relatives of residents complained about the standard of care afforded. A poor standard of hygiene was raised as an issue in a small number of homes, as was the lack of space for clothes and personal items. Medication was stored on a trolley in one home, while in another, items other than medication were stored in a locked drugs cabinet. Residents said they would like more activities in some homes. The low numbers of staff on duty during night time hours was raised as a concern for a number of homes.
Personal belongings of residents went missing or were damaged on occasion in some homes, especially laundry. Nursing homes that failed to comply with regulations were given specific instructions to do so by HIQA in their various reports. While a number of problems were identified with specific homes, in many cases HIQA reported that the standards of care were extremely high. Facilities were of a high standard and were well maintained. Residents commented that the staff were friendly and that they felt well cared for. The overwhelming majority of issues identified in reports and breaches of Heath Acts were of a technical nature, typically with paperwork not being up to date. In some cases, inspections were carried out at random, in other cases they were announced. A small number were triggered as a result of complaints.
TWENTY percent of people in the Mid-West seeking help from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) are doing so for the first time. This is according to Eileen Hoffler, regional administrator for the Mid-West who was speaking as the SVP gears up for a busy festive period in which thousands of Limerick people will receive help. “One in five requests is from someone who hasn’t come to us before,” she said. “What I would say to those who may find themselves in this situation for the first time is to come forward sooner rather than later and before the situation gets worse and worse, the smallest bit of help can make a huge difference,” she added. The society has experienced increased demand for assistance and services in the last year, but Ms. Hoffler has praised Limerick people for their efforts. “We’ve seen the need for our service increase hugely. We will give out in the region of 2,000 hampers and toys this year and the bulk of our work will be done in the 10 days before Christmas,” she said. Over 300 people in the City and surrounding areas help SVP during the holiday season. The society will provide clothes, hampers, food vouchers and toys to families and individuals who require help over the holidays. SVP also run a hostel for homeless men on Clare Street in Limerick and a thrift shop on Catherine street in the city centre.
Houses boarded as residents leave regeneration areas Kelly Moran Patricia Murphy ALMOST 15 percent of houses in Moyross were boarded up in 2010 and 12 percent in Southill, according to figures from the Housing Department at Limerick City Council. Tracy McElligott, a development worker with the Moyross Resident’s Forum said the number of residents moving away from regeneration areas is having a negative impact on the people who remain. “It’s having a detrimental effect on people as neighbours of over thirty years are leaving the area,” said Ms McElligott. In total, almost 1,000 houses were
demolished throughout all Limerick regeneration areas since it began in 2007, figures from the Limerick Regeneration Agency showed. As of September last, Southill has 94 houses boarded up and Moyross 61, but the amount of vacant homes could be a lot higher. Mayor of Limerick, Jim Long said some people are abandoning their homes without informing the council. “There is evidence that people have vacated their houses. It’s a major problem; people are turning the key and walking away,” he said. Although responsible for boarding up houses, Limerick City Council does not record the reasons why people sell or abandon their property.
A representative of the Regeneration Agency said they can understand why people don’t feel secure in their homes. Director of Regeneration, Brendan Hayden said: “I get why some families would prefer to be anywhere else rather than these areas.” Mr Hayden said the agency have attempted to tackle crime by erecting cameras and increasing Garda surveillance in the areas. However Mayor Long does not give much weight to these measures. “Criminals don’t give a damn about cameras, lights or Gardaí in the area. They only care about themselves, they have no fear of the law,” he said. Despite the number of people moving from these areas, Brendan
Hayden said the Agency is hopeful that regeneration will be successful. “We have never indicated that this would be a quick process but it is our belief that funding from the Department of the Environment should go in a different direction now. “Instead of demolition this money should be earmarked for rebuilding,” said Mr Hayden. As of September 30 this year a total of 132 houses were demolished between Southill and Moyross. While residents continue to leave both areas, Mr Hayden added he wanted residents to stay. “At this stage we would like the community to stay, we would like to see families stay and for Regeneration to occur,” he added.
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10 | the City Voice
Heartbreak for Limerick family with loss of son “Nothing prepares you for it; it’s natural to bury your parents but to bury your child, no matter how they die, but especially when the death is suicide - people just don’t understand.” – Michael Hayes Craig Hughes MICHAEL and Rose Hayes lost their son Patrick to suicide on the 12th of September 2004. He was 23. Patrick Hayes (pictured) was a normal child and grew up in the countryside near the village of Athea in West Limerick. However, his mother had concerns about his drinking ever since his first drink at his brother’s 21st birthday party when he was 16. “If he had three or four drinks he just simply wouldn’t be able to stop. I didn’t like the effect drink had on him, but I didn’t know, what I know now about addiction,” she said. Patrick was an excellent student, and went on to study engineering at third level in Cork. Unbeknownst to his brother, who he lived with while in college, Patrick had developed a drug problem, which his family now believe accelerated his underlying mental health condition. Patrick had bulimia and would later be diagnosed with schizophrenia. It was only when Patrick failed his first year in college that his family realised he had a problem. They brought him home and tried to get him back on the road to recovery. He showed good signs of recovery and after counselling gave up drink, drugs and cigarettes. Weeks later, Patrick self-harmed. His mother Rose was in the kitchen when she heard the car horn beeping. She looked out the window to see Patrick in the car. “I didn’t say anything; I just held his hand and got him to the doctor. It wasn’t an attempted suicide, it was a
deliberate self-harm and that showed us the depth of his emotional pain,” said Rose He subsequently spent a week in the psychiatric unit in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital. But things were getting better. He had stayed away from alcohol and drugs and was intending on going back to college. But after conquering his drug addiction Patrick found it hard taking even prescription medication. “Dad I don’t want to take anymore drugs, I’ve enough drugs taken in my life,” he said. His councillor insisted that the cross-addiction, coupled with the bulimia would be severely hard to conquer. He was getting better, and had stayed away from drink and drugs when he decided to go on a trip abroad. But it was this trip that would send him on a downward spiral. His family knew that they had to trust him and he assured his friends and family he wouldn’t drink. But he found it hard to control himself when he was away from his family. “From the time he got back off the plane he was never the same person. There were four or five hours over there that he couldn’t account for, and that demented him. He gave up his job after that,” said Michael. Even after this Patrick spoke about going back to college, but sadly it wasn’t to be. “I don’t think anyone tried as hard to remain on this planet as Patrick did, but I think he became very disappointed in himself. “We can all forgive people but I think forgiving yourself is the hardest and I think Patrick couldn’t for-
give himself for getting caught up in drugs. “But I never felt shame, I was disappointed, but I never felt shame. I’m very proud of my son, he only lived for 23 years, but he achieved a lot in those 23 years,” his farther said. Patrick died in the hay barn behind his house. There’s a crucifix above the place where he died and a candle remains lit. “Patrick’s death had a massive effect on everyone around him. They say every suicide affects 50 people, but because of the size of our family and the amount of close friends we have I think it affected 150 people. And people are still affected by Patrick’s death today. “Nothing prepares you for it; it’s natural to bury your parents but to bury your child, no matter how they die, but especially when the death is suicide - people just don’t understand. “In the beginning we couldn’t eat, we couldn’t sleep. We were in a state of shock for a year and seven months,” Michael said. Rose insists that Patrick’s suicide is an illness, and not an act of selfishness. “I really believe, and I can talk for Patrick when I say this, that if they were in their right mind and realised the effects it would have on their family and the people around them they wouldn’t do it. “You have so many questions and there are no answers, but you have to go through them. “Even though we were told not to go back we had to go back in order to go forward,” she said. Patrick would be 30 if he was alive today. Michael and Rose have never stopped loving him,.
Patrick Hayes in a portrait that is kept in the family home. Michael and Rose decided to speak publicly about Patrick’s death so that others would realise that there is help out there; for those who need help as well as for those bereaved by suicide. Rose and Michael continue to work with Living Links - who offer support to those effectd by suicide. If you have been bereaved by suicide, you can contact Living Links in Limerick on 0877998427.
People seeking abuse help increases Sarah Moyles CASES of sexual violence are increasing in Limerick and the Mid West. In 2010, 181 people contacted the Mid Western Rape Crisis Centre. So far in 2011 this figure has risen to 185. Some 148 women contacted the service in 2010, this year the figure has increased to 156. Although sexual assaults amongst women are increasing, sexual violence amongst men has shown a slight decrease. Some 33 men availed of services from the rape crisis centre in 2010, compared with 29 in 2011. Of the 185 people who have contacted the Mid Western rape crisis centre in 2011, 115 of these have been new clients to the service.
Miriam Duffy, from the Rape Crisis Centre in Limerick City says there is an increase in the number of counselling hours provided by the centre. She predicts this figure will be at its highest in 2013. 2602 hours of counselling hours were provided by the centre in 2010. Despite these increases, victims of sexual violence still have to wait months to avail of counselling services. Minister Jan O’Sullivan, Labour TD for Limerick City believes no one should have to wait to receive counselling services after incidents of sexual violence. “The centre is doing fantastic work and I fully support the work they do but I don’t think people should have to wait that long to avail of these services.”
She added that the HSE is currently doing a revue of spending in this area to insure resources are provided and that the rape crisis network can get everything it needs. Susan Miner, services support coordinator for the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland, believes that the increased numbers can be explained. Ms Miner said that the release of the Ryan and Murphy report has brought the issue of sexual violence back into the forefront of people’s minds. “People who haven’t talked about it [their experience of sexual violence], now feel that it would be a good time to talk to someone.” She added that “every time you bring up issues about sexual violence you increase calls.” Meanwhile Miriam Duffy also agreed that “once there is something
major in the media, people who would have never thought of reporting it before, now realise there are millions more like me.” The Rape Crisis Network engages in awareness campaigns and every year they plan activities in secondary schools across Ireland to educate people about sexual violence. Ms Duffy expressed her concerns about the upcoming budget, “rape crisis centres across Ireland have made money stretch for years and saying it’s ok to cut funding, is going to cause long term consequences to victim’s health.” There is an increase in the number of phone calls made to the services helpline. Limerick Rape crisis centre is one of the few regional centres in the country.
2,602 Hours of Rape Crisis counseling in Mid West
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Friday December 2, 2011 | 11
Limerick and the budget [ Regeneration funding remains a key Government commitment but what can Limerick people expect their TDs to fight for in the run up to the most draconian Budget in a generation?
Craig Hughes LABOUR Minister Jan O’Sullivan has vowed to fight her Fine Gael coalition partners to protect party policy in the upcoming budget. Speaking to The City Voice the Limerick City TD insisted that no final decisions has been made at cabinet level on the budget and that cuts in child benefit, a tax on the medical card and prescriptions as well as an increase in student registration fees is simply speculation. “These are all just options, I will be fighting to protect people on the lowest of incomes but we have to accept that tough decisions have to be made and there are no easy choices. “We will fight to ensure that people who can afford to take cuts bear the brunt of the budget. “I don’t favour student fees going up and I hope that it doesn’t happen. I also don’t want to see class sizes going up or funding for children with disabilities being withdrawn but unfortunately some money has to be taken out of the sector,” she said. Speaking about the Limerick City Regeneration project, Minister O’Sullivan stated that money needs to be spent on vital areas. “We want to keep regeneration going. What I want for the regeneration projects is for the money to be spent properly. What we are going to do is refocus the budget and get money spent on regeneration areas rather than buying property in the suburbs to re-house people,” she said. However, Fianna Fail TD and
former government minister, Willie O’Dea (above), stated that he believed the project would be scaled back entirely to facilitate capital spending cuts and criticised the government to lack of clarity regarding regeneration insisting it simply was not fair on residents in the regeneration areas. “I have asked the Department four or five times what they intend to do with the revised regeneration plan and on each occasion they have refused to give me a definitive answer. The people in all these estates need to know where they stand. “The Department took the plan up to Dublin to scale it down and I’m fearful that they will in the budget.” Meanwhile, Minister O’Sullivan pledged her support to retain funding for the regeneration project which was first unveiled in September 2007 after two young children were seriously harmed in an arson attack in troubled suburb of Moyross.
2% Vat increase
€50 tax on medical card
Cuts to child benefit
No easy choices remain as Noonan prepares first Budget ANALYSIS Craig Hughes Kirean Foley AS THE Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, prepares to deliver the toughest budget in the history of the State his Limerick constituents will realise that now is not a time for parochialism. They will have to be hit the same as everyone else as the nation braces itself for cuts right across the board. With the Government seeking to find €3.8bn in savings, very few people will be immune to exposure from financial difficulty in Budget 2012. But some people on the streets of
Limerick will feel like they’ve already taken enough of a hit; job losses in computer giant Dell and near-by in Shannon Airport has been a sour pill to swallow.
et to the media; such as the 2 percent increase in VAT, the €500 increase in student fees, the €50 tax on the medical card and a cut to child benefit. The impact of these increases will be difficult to estimate. It will be the most harshly felt in border counties. As a city it is hard to see a huge exodus of Limerick consumers flocking to the North on a regular basis in search of cheaper products, especially given the price of fuel.
tion back on track. Minister Noonan has attempted to soften the blow of this budget by leaking some of the severe measures he is set to implemented in the budg-
So much trepidation has surrounded the budget throughout the past weeks that when Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin finally
The previous Government agreed to make €3.8bn worth of savings in this budget as part of the bailout package, and the current government is bound to it. They have no choice but to bow to their IMF masters, take the cuts and pay the taxes in order to get the na-
make their announcements it is likely to be greeted with a tinge of relief. With a week to go before the unveiling of the toughest budget in the history of the state, Minister Noonan’s constituency colleague, Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan told the City Voice that all information surrounding the budget in the media was purely speculation and that she would fight to protect the most vulnerable in society, that she would fight the increase in student fees and a tax on the medical card.
Bang the drum
Surely the public are not as naïve to think that a junior minister would not know if dramatic decisions such as a €50 tax on the medical card or a
reduction in child benefit were being introduced. This is merely an example of politics in full throttle, with the Minister and her Labour colleagues looking to distance themselves from Fine Gael as they prepare for the post budget fallout. Low income families will have much needed money taken out of their pockets in this budget. On the streets of Limerick, the people’s favourite Willie O’Dea will bang the drum when his voters complain about the cuts As the only Opposition TD in the constituency, who was part of the administration that caused this mess his complaints will fall on deaf ears.
12 | the City Voice
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
Businesses fearful Kieran Foley David Kelly AN OVERWHELMING majority of Limerick businesses are fearful of the upcoming budget, a survey by The City Voice has revealed. When asked to rate their expectations of Budget 2012, 78 percent of businesses said they were fearful, with 19 percent unsure and three percent hopeful. Donal Fitzgibbon of Skillnet, the Limerick Chamber of Commerce support body, dedicated to enterprise training and workplace learning, says he believes the figures accurately reflect the current challenges facing Limerick businesses. “The majority of businesses are being careful when it comes to hiring staff and accessing finance because they fear they won’t be able to pay it back,” he said. The survey asked each business a number of multiple choice questions relating to their expectations and experiences. In total, 33 small businesses in both the city and county participated in the survey. Forty percent said they were un-
sure of their expectations for the Christmas season. With VAT set to rise by two per cent in January, almost 50 percent of businesses said they were fearful for 2012. “Outgoings for businesses such as VAT and petrol are sucking money out of the economy allowing for less development,” said Mr Fitzgibbon. Worryingly for new graduates, 55 percent of businesses said they did not plan on hiring new staff within the next year. Half of the businesses surveyed said they had found attempts to access finance within the last year difficult. Speaking on Monday, Minister of State for Small Business John Perry TD indicated his intention to proceed with the implementation of five of the key actions identified in “The Voice of Small Business” report. The report by a special advisory group identified key actions which could be taken to address concerns of small businesses such as accessing finance. “These are pragmatic ideas which
Despite shoppers seen on the streets of Limerick, retailers are fearful of sales in 2012
are capable of early implementation to help small companies access the business supports they require, address some of the challenges of the hidden economy, assist their cash
flow by promoting prompt payments, and seek ways to reduce administrative burdens,” said Minister Perry. See survey results on page 13
Moody Cow shakes up the market
IN the last two years, many retailers have not survived the economic chill which has swept through Limerick City. The closing of many city centre shops has left little confidence in the city. Despite the negativity and hardship, a fun, quirky business arrived last year with a bang - and a whole lot of flavour. Moody Cow Milkshakes opened its doors in Roches Street in October 2010 and has since gone from strength to strength. The business is an example of entrepreneurialism at its best. At a time when Limerick was crying out for a new innovative craze, Caroline O’ Reilly and her husband came up with something to tickle everyone’s fancy. “We originally saw the idea in England and thought it would be ideal for Limerick as it’s something that could target all ages,” she explained. And that it did. Caroline says the key to the idea is to maintain the utmost amount of choice and variety, adding that she likes to encourage customers to try something new and different on each visit. Moody Cow is forever pushing the boundaries, especially when it comes to combining different flavours. “There is an ongoing competition as to who can combine the most ingredients in one shake. The current
Mary Kiely, Clare O’Reilly and Niamh O’Neill behind the counter at Moody Cow
record stands at 21 – The Blackjack,” said Ms O’Reilly. In line with how most businesses are now promoting themselves, Moody Cow is using Facebook and Twitter as a platform to reach out to as many potential customers as possible. With more than 4,500 fans on Fa-
cebook, this notion has gone down quite a treat. On Moody Cow’s Facebook page there are pictures of people of all ages enjoying their products, which not only include milkshakes conjured from every type of sweet thing you can imagine, but also tea, coffee, breakfast shakes, smoothies, slush-
ies, hot chocolate and confectionary. An outlet at the Milk Market has opened on Saturday mornings to target early morning shoppers. And, for those who holiday in Kilkee, there is another store open on the Main Street during the months of June, July and August. Their most recent milkshake parlour opened in Ennis at the beginning of October. But of course, like any market, once the smell of success is out, the competitors come flocking in. However, like a true businesswoman, Caroline says a little competition never did anyone any harm. “We don’t have a problem with competition - that is what keeps us on our toes. Our main focus is on price. We are careful to keep our products at the best possible price and of course quality is a main priority as well,” she said. Moody Cow is also on the move – it has been hired out for weddings, corporate days, graduations and various other events. By the end of this week, they will also have their mobile unit up and running. As the Christmas season approaches, Moody Cow is conscious of bringing some Christmas cheer to Limerick and is releasing Cherry Bakewell and Mince Pie flavoured milkshakes which were popular when they made their debut last year. Moody Cow Milkshakes is a Limerick success story that looks set to continue for some time to come.
NEWS LOCAL NEWS FEATURES OPINION BUSINESS SPORT
Friday December 2, 2011 | 13
The City Voice business survey Budget expectations
50% had difficulty getting finance
Fearful of budget 19%
[ [ [
46% fearful for sales in 2012
55% won’t be hiring any staff
New jobs strategy needed Niamh Dillon
IRELAND needs to take a more radical approach to solving it’s current unemployment problem, according to the former director of Ireland’s first Innovation Centre. Limerick man Tom Carroll says Ireland needs to develop effective business models to transform the contribution Irish entrepreneurs can make to the national economic revival. “Ireland needs to take a bold initiative derived from industrial strategies in Germany, Japan and the Nordic countries,” he said. Mr Carroll believes the current political system does not facilitate a long term industrial development
strategy. “There would need to be unwavering political commitment to such an initiative for at least 20 years and I don’t believe that the current political system underpins that kind of long-term planning,” he said. The Innovation Centre commenced operations in 1980. Shannon Development, Ireland’s only regional economic development agency at the time, was given a role to develop and test systems and programmes to reduce Ireland’s dependence on foreign multinational companies. The Innovation Centre was one of the projects that emerged from that task. “When the Innovation Centre was first launched it was an attempt to
help deliver a new type of start up company that had the ability to trade internationally,” said Mr Carroll. “There was no readymade template for such a business incubation system anywhere in the world. So, we had to resort to ‘learning by doing’.” The programme was subsequently copied and operated throughout Europe in centres modelled on Limerick’s Innovation Centre. Mr Carroll believes that one of the key success factors at the time was the level of support the project received from the then Minister for Industry and Commerce Mr Desmond O’ Malley TD. “His support was crucial in driving forward what was a very new and untested model for enterprise develop-
Limerick discount deals
ment,” he said. A major initiative developed at the centre included an ‘Entrepreneurship and High Tech Programme,’ the objective of which was to identify and prepare high potential entrepreneurs for the launching of new tech based companies in Ireland. “This process was very successful in building project teams,” said Mr Carroll. Foreign direct investment companies in Ireland still account for 80 percent of all manufacturing output and 90 percent of exports. Mr Carroll believes this is the strategic challenge the Government must urgently address, suggesting that the country obtain a major new initiative to drive forward the creation of more high growth Irish companies.
A LIMERICK couple have capitalised on the success of international daily deal sites by launching their own business. Launched in August, eurdeal.ie is run by Omonefe Lynch and her husband David from Newcastle West. The site aims to support local charities as well as promote local businesses, with a portion of all sales going to Limerick Animal Welfare. “We’re all about local business and local communities via local charities,” said Mr Lynch. “Our type of business gently nudges people to spend money again and to spend it locally.” A similar site, but on a larger scale, US-based livingsocial.com also launched in Limerick this year. Businesses register with the site to advertise a special offer which is usually discounted by more than 50 percent of the normal price. In return the business gets free advertising for 24 hours on the website. A beauty offer has been Limerick’s top-selling deal so far, with restaurant, haircut and gym offers also receiving particularly good responses. Too many new customers at once can pose a challenge to some businesses, as Tom Murphy of Clearview Cleaning in Patrickswell discovered. “Two to three times more vouchers were sold than agreed, creating a colossal workload overnight,” said Mr Murphy. As his business entails visiting customers, the time taken to honour all vouchers sold was considerably more than he had bargained for. Despite their success, challenges remain for daily deal sites including the retention of new customers initially attracted by such sites.
Tourism in Mid West a priority for Government Philippa Brennan Niamh Dillon VISITOR numbers to Limerick City have risen an estimated 15 percent this year. Although official statistics are yet to be compiled, Shannon Development’s Limerick Development Division Manager Eoghan Prendergast said he is confident “tourism in the city is only going to go up.” Occupancy rates for hotels in the city are at 52 percent for 2011, which is similar to 2010 figures. General Manager at the Clarion Hotel Ivan Tuohy said he was very happy with the hotel’s performance. “Limerick is a difficult area in which to operate, especially due to
the massive oversupply of hotels in the city,” he said. He also noted that the 17 hotels in the city which were now competing on rates were all of a very high standard. Despite this competition, thirteen hotels in the city are currently undertaking a joint marketing strategy to encourage tourists to visit Limerick. During the summer, they contributed money for advertising and devised a list of 50 things to do in Limerick and the Shannon region in a bid to boost local tourism. “It’s about pooling our resources and working to get people to stay in Limerick while visiting the Shannon region,” explained General Manager of the Strand Hotel Sean Lally.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport Michael Ring TD said that being from the western region himself, he was anxious to increase tourism in the area. “The Central Statistics Office figures show tourism is up 10 percent in the country and while this is good news there is still the challenge of trying to get visitors out of Dublin and to places like Limerick City instead,” he said. He added that the mid-west had a “very positive product” to market and said tourism was a priority for the Government. Shannon Development and Limerick City Council will invest more than €10 million in tourism related
projects such as the redevelopment projects at King John’s Castle and Howley’s Quay. Both agencies are working closely together and, of the total €10 million, Shannon Development has secured €4.7 million in funding from Fáilte Ireland while Limerick City Council has secured €3.15 million. A further proposal to upgrade Nicholas Street and the medieval quarter riverside area is currently being submitted for funding support to Fáilte Ireland. This project would complete the linkage of the three bridges on the Shannon with high quality tourism trails which is part of a strategy jointly developed by Limerick City Council and Shannon Development.
Michael Ring TD, Junior Minister for Tourism and Sport
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
14 | the City Voice
theCityVoice Newsroom, University of Limerick Co Limerick. Tel: 061 20 2315
Nursing home scandals must come to an end
Oldest profession on the rise LIMERICK has become a city of vice, with pimps and prostitutes lining the streets and intimidating local people. The blatant flouting of the law with men actively soliciting women is a sign of moral decay in the City of Limerick. Legislation on the sale of sex needs to be immediately reviewed in order to protect the women who are being forced into the sex industry all over the city. The women observed on the street form only one part of the sex trade. Online, there is deplorable evidence of high-class prostitution in Limerick. The men using these women need to be brought before the courts and the trade needs to be shut down. With brothels actively operating in the city, it is obvious that the gangsters involved in the trade have no respect for the law. The people of Limerick need to stand up to these gangsters and fight the vice trade on their streets. The City of Limerick needs to combat this problem immediately before the city centre turns into a slum.
Editor Rowan Gallagher Deputy Editors Craig Hughes & Kieran Foley News Editor Orla Walsh Features Editor Denise Calnan Sports Editor Neil Treacy Opinion Editor Kelly Moran Deputy News Editor Aisling Hussey Deputy Features Editor Jean O’Donovan Assistant Features Editor Rachael Power Deputy Sports Editor Robert McNamara Chief Reporter Karen O’Connor Desmond Chief Sub Editor Emma O’Brien Photographic Editor Anna Falk Online Editor Jason Kennedy Deputy Online Editor Joycelyn Fish Design Editor Sharon Whelton Sub Editors: Deirdre Allen, Janna Murphy, Michaela Ingram, Stephen O’Sullivan, Leo Stiles, Sarah Moyles, David Kelly, Patricia Murphy.
Local businesses need support this Christmas time
HE mantra of “shop local” is a phrase to which we have become accustomed to hearing. However, with Budget 2012 looming ominously closer, it is now something which is as important as ever. The extensive business survey conducted by the City Voice has revealed that almost 80 percent of businesses in Limerick are fearful of the upcoming budget. This pessimistic mood is compounded by the 40 percent who said they were unsure of their expectations for the Christmas season. Business owners already know that they will be subjected to a two percent VAT hike in January, however the impact of this is difficult to estimate. Will consumers really depart in their droves to avail of cross-border shopping? The implementation of the controversial hike will more than likely be most harshly felt in border counties, as it’s hard to see a huge exodus of Limerick consumers flocking to the North on a regular basis in search of cheaper products. Despite the new addition of the completed M7 motorway to Dublin making access to Northern Ireland easier, given the price of fuel, regular expeditions to the North now seem as likely as the once famous weekend Christmas shopping trips to New York. However, the fear of the imposition of measures such as the VAT increase is the reason why we should clearly show our local businesses that we are willing to support them. One of the biggest threats to such busi-
nesses in the past has been the proliferation of large retail chains. While such stores can be a great addition to any location, they do not distinguish one area from another. It’s our locally run businesses that create vibrancy. They enhance the distinguishing factors which give Limerick its unique identity and, in turn, attract shoppers from outside the city. If Limerick only strives to offer a multitude of shops which can be found in every other town and city in Ireland, then there is no unique selling point through which potential shoppers can be enticed. To prevent closures in the city, we must lend our support to our local businesses. Whether this is done through buying meat
We must prevent further closures
THE shocking revelations from the HIQA reports on Limerick’s nursing homes are a reflection on the disregard we as a country have for the aging population. The troubling facts revealed in their reports show that the basic human rights of the elderly were frequently ignored by the Health Service Executive. The elderly, being some of the most vulnerable in society, rely on others for support . If we cannot care for our elderly citizens, what can we expect in our twilight years? The elder abuse highlighted in the reports is horrific and needs to be noted and stamped out. We should be learning from the elderly, the people who built this country, and looking after them in their final years. With the budget looming, it is evident that the service provided to the elderly cannot take any more cuts, and that additional resources are needed immediately to improve the conditions in state run nursing homes.
from the local butcher, beauty products from the local pharmacy or stationary from the local bookstore, it must be done to prevent further dilapidation taking place in Limerick City centre. The city has seen a plethora of closures in recent times and it has undoubtedly contributed to causing degradation in many areas of the city which should be buzzing with the chit chat and footsteps of eager shoppers willing to splash their cash. Further compounding the saddening sight of boarded up shop fronts is the fact that the vast majority of them were locally run businesses. While cash-strapped consumers will always seek the best bargains, making the decision of where to shop brings with it so many more consequences than just availing of the cheapest products. Yet, supporting local businesses may not be top of people’s priority lists as only a small minority of people will escape Budget 2012 unscathed. It will be interesting to see how much consumers will be willing to spend this Christmas – that is if they are in possession of money that has escaped the clutches of the Government. However, even more interesting will be observing where they will be willing to dispense of this money. For the sake of Limerick’s businesses and for the sake of Limerick as a whole, let’s shop locally this Christmas. - Kieran Foley is Business Editor of the City Voice
NEWS LOCAL NEWS FEATURESOPINION BUSINESS SPORT
Friday December 2, 2011 | 15
Next week Michael Noonan’s Budget will introduce drastic cuts to public services in an attempt to salvage the national finances. Two Limerick TDs give their views on both the city’s and the country’s economic outlook.
ince the middle of 2008, Fianna Fail has taken significant steps to correct the public finances and return this country to a sustainable fiscal posi-
tion. Over the past three years, the Irish public has faced four extremely tough budgets resulting in €21 billion in budgetary adjustments. Labour and Fine Gael are now taking credit for a budget they opposed last December, but it was these tough decisions that resulted in an improvement in the public finances. With 447,000 people on the live register, the Government cannot afford to take their eye off the ball. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has added a new layer of uncertainty to the economic outlook here at home. While the potential collapse of the euro looms over us, the primary aims for the budget and government economic policy should be: delivering growth and jobs, continuation of the
One in five mortgages are in difficulty
correction in the public finances, boosting consumer confidence and stimulating demand in the domestic economy, supporting businesses and enhancing competiveness and ensuring the banking sector serves the needs of the customers and business. The Government’s recent Medium Term Fiscal Statement projected that employment would increase by a mere 65,000 by 2015 and that the unemployment rate would fall only modestly to 11.6 percent. This Government was elected on the basis of its promises to tackle the unemployment crisis by focusing on “spending cuts rather than job
destroying tax increases” (Fine Gael Five Point Plan). The reality though is that the jobs crisis has worsened since Fine Gael and Labour came to office. The latest Central Statistics Office figures are proof of this. Levels of employment are dropping, while unemployment remains unacceptably high, and long term unemployment continues to grow. The Government seems intent on bringing in a number of stealth taxes on jobs that will only damage the domestic economy even further and lead to job losses. The Government’s plan to increase the standard rate of VAT to 23 percent is illogical at a time when retail businesses are on their knees. The Government has recently published new draft Retail Planning Guidelines that will remove the current caps on retail floor space. We are completely opposed to these changes. We believe they will rob town centres of shops, create massive out of town stores while small shops close and people lose their jobs. Limerick City can ill-afford these changes now given the present retail footprint around the city environs which has wiped out trade in the city centre. We believe the Government should bring about an immediate and substantial cut in commercial valuations at every local authority across the country helping thousands of businesses. The domestic economy is going to remain weak and will only get weaker as people continue to struggle with paying their mortgages. At present, there are almost 150,000 residential mortgages in difficulty. That represents one in five mortgages. We want to see practical measures put in place to assist people who are either struggling with their mortgage payments or personal debt. We have called on the Government to immediately publish reformed bankruptcy legislation and also to set up an independent debt settlement office with the authority to provide actual settlements. As the main opposition Fianna Fáil will be rigorous in holding the government to account while bringing forward practical proposals that will inform the debate on how best to secure our economic future. -Niall Collins is Fianna Fail TD for Limerick
Fine Gael TD and Vice-chairman of the Dail Public Accounts Committee
n examining the economic outlook for Limerick City at the close of 2011, I think it only appropriate to first look at the context that our country finds itself as this has a bearing on all our futures. We have just passed the first anniversary of Ireland entering an EU/IMF programme. In recent months our finances and banking systems have both stabilised and growth has recommenced. Our objective is to regain our economic sovereignty as quickly as possible. The means of doing this is to correct our public finances, fix our banking system and stimulate growth to enable us to once again start to borrow on the international markets rather than being funded through the EU/IMF. People here have come through very difficult times over the last number of years and are now beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. However, at present this light is being dimmed by market turmoil in Europe which continues to create uncertainty for us here and is something which is outside of our own control. Immediate bold action is required at
Development of the centre is critical for the entire region
Fianna Fail TD and spokesman on Environment, Community and Local Government
EU level to stabilise matters. Turning to Limerick City, while there are challenges, I am very positive about our future here. As the capital of the Mid-West, we are strategically very well located, with Shannon International Airport here, the River Shannon and its estuary, and a strong road and rail infrastructure. Furthermore, as well as being the European City of Sport, it is a great place to live in and we have a fantastic workforce here, a great educational infrastructure with UL and LIT and other third level colleges. The immediate challenge is to continue to create jobs here in Limerick through the
indigenous and multi-national sectors. Over the last number of months we have seen positive signs, with many IDA-backed jobs being created alongside indigenous ones. Job creation here is my number one priority and I will continue to work with all stakeholders to deliver further jobs in Limerick. The development and future of the city is something I have a very keen personal interest in and would like to address a number of points in this regard. It is vital for the region that we have a strong Limerick City and the development of the city centre is therefore critical for the entire region. To this end, the recent purchase of the Opera Centre site in the heart of the city by Limerick City Council is a very positive move. Development of this site is vital to the overall Regeneration process of the city and its environs. Focus must also continue to be given to the work in the Regeneration areas of Moyross, St. Mary’s Park, Southill and Ballinacurra Weston. Furthermore, I would like to see a more physical link up between the UL campus in Plassey and the city centre. I feel this will be mutually beneficial to both the city and UL. For the city, it would bring an added dimension to city life, while for the University, it would add to an already-great campus in a very positive way. It would be fantastic (not to say unique) to see the canal being used as a means of transport from UL to the city centre. This would be an ideal context for the university to look at the possibility of increasing its activities in the city centre. One of the keys to Limerick surviving and prospering through the ages since its foundation, has been the ability to re-invent itself. As we enter the second year of the second decade of this millennium, this ability remains intact. Like all great cities, Limerick is constantly evolving, even when the odds are against it. We are, in short, a city that will always be a good investment. With all the stakeholders in Limerick working together for the betterment of our city and our people, we – like Munster, our world-class rugby team - are unbeatable. -Kieran O’Donnell is Fine Gael TD for Limerick
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
16 | the City Voice
Positive outlook for tourism trade in Limerick
closed in the city. While Gardaí continue to investigate cases of prostitution and human trafficking, concern has been expressed for the human rights of the women involved. Research indicates that women are reluctant to identify abusers within the prostitution industry for fear of incriminating themselves and facing prosecution. As so few women come forward to reveal the abuses which occur in prostitution it can be extremely difficult to identify those who have been trafficked. In recent years the level of violence within prostitution has increased enormously. This also seems to play out in the reality when one considers the personal testimonies of women in sex work and the levels of violence carried out against them and how it has increased over the years. The number of prostitution related offences recorded in Limerick in the first quarter of this year represented an increase of more than 500 percent on last year. Individuals were charged with soliciting, running a brothel and sexual exploitation of a child amongst other offences. On one website there were 56 women available for sex in the city. Limerick’s prostitution is thought to be linked to a wider European ring. It is thought to be linked to organised crime. This is what the demand is creating.
E have finally turned the corner with tourism in Limerick this year. I believe this is due to the new Government who put in place a number of pro tourism policies including the reduction of VAT from 13.5 percent to nine percent. This made the hospitality industry so much more competitive, helped to attract additional international travellers and for the first time in five years, tourism into Ireland experienced a growth of 10 percent. The new tourist visa waiver scheme, which will make it easy for tourists from India, China and Russia to visit Ireland once they have a visa for the UK, will help us secure a share of the fastest growing outbound tourism market in the world. It will also provide a huge opportunity to capture additional tourists during the Olympics in London next year. The merging of the two councils will lead to more joined up thinking as the problems of having two separate councils are evidenced by the doughnut developments in Limerick, at the expense of the city centre. The purchase of the Opera site by Limerick City Council is great news and a master plan for this 3.5 acre site needs to be fast-tracked and developed as quickly as possible. It will get the much needed investment back into our city centre and hopefully there will not be a proposal to develop another hotel on this site! One of the biggest successes over the last year came on the back of securing the title of European City of Sport. It is crucial that we build on the success of this year to secure Limerick’s reputation as the sports capital of Ireland. Cork may have its Jazz Festival and Galway its races but sport is Limerick’s festival and we need to support it in every way that we can. One of the biggest challenges we face in Limerick is our image. It has been built up as a result of years of negative publicity but I believe we are making headway in turning people’s attitudes by securing high profile events. We must put our best foot forward and make sure when people come to Limerick they know what is going on, they get the best possible experience of the city and spread the good word of what we have, as the best form of advertising is word of mouth. There are 13 hotels working together with an external sales consultant on a sales and marketing and PR plan for the group, as if we were one hotel. We will pool our resources to ensure that we have maximum effect in attracting tourists to Limerick. This year we carried a national advertising campaign for July and August which led to a 14 percent increase in bedroom occupancy for the summer months. This meant there were more people shopping in Limerick, using our bars and restaurants and when the city is busy everyone gets a spin off. The glass is certainly half full when it comes to Limerick and tourism.
-Dr Siobhan O’Connor is Advocacy and Campaigns Officer with Doras Luimni
-Sean Lally is General Manager of the Limerick Strand Hotel
It’s time to make buying sex illegal
UMAN trafficking is modern day slavery and cannot be stopped until there is a national focus on demand since demand lies at the core of human trafficking. Almost 80 percent of all human trafficking is for the illegal sex industry so it can be said that it is the demand in Ireland to purchase sex that encourages sex traffickers to subject their victims to Irish brothels. The work of the anti-human trafficking unit of An Garda Síochana is the perfect tool to spread awareness and education amongst those that may not realise the consequences of their actions when they purchase sex from brothels. A person seeking the services of a brothel may think they have entered into a business contract between two consenting adults. However it could be the subjugation and humiliation of a woman or child who is there against her will under duress and threat of violence to herself or harm to her family. This is a topic we can all engage with, be aware of and tackle as a society. There is no evidence that criminalising will eradicate this heinous situation but the evidence from Sweden shows that if the purchase of sex is criminalised in conjunction with educational and awareness campaigns the number trafficked into the State will fall dramatically. Victims of trafficking from within the European Economic Area (EEA) are forced to
rely on the already over stretched Homelessness and Community Welfare services. Victims of trafficking from outside the EEA, if they escape or are rescued, are housed in Direct Provision Centres. Apart from the inadequacy of this type of accommodation, they can be at risk because they are very visible in the area in which they are situated.
edia reports from the past show that women and young girls in Direct Provision Centres were being solicited for prostitution. Also traffickers can easily look in these very visible centres for their own victims that may have escaped or for susceptible new victims. The Children’s Rights Alliance has highlighted evidence of children who were targeted in this way. Traffickers feed a demand in Irish society. Every time a woman, man or child is coerced into a sexual act it is a violation. Every time a person is expected to work in bad conditions, for a lower than the minimum wage rate of pay or against their will, it is exploitation. Yet all of this happens in Ireland. The reason it can continue to happen is that there is a demand. Service users are perpetuating the problem because traffickers are responding to the demand: the demand for available sex and the demand for cheap labour. Recent media reports indicate that the sex trade in Limerick is flourishing. In the first three months of this year 15 brothels were
NEWS LOCAL NEWS FEATURES OPINION BUSINESS SPORT
“Imagine if it really was a woman’s world”
Val Holmes stands outside the Brown Thomas window on O’Connell St. Anna Falk
Window dresser Roisin Curran
Val Holmes has been dressing the iconic Brown Thomas windows on O’Connell St for the last 37 years.
VAL HOLMES; the man behind the window. -The window being Brown Thomas’ ever-changing front display. The man as the display manager spanning nearly four decades. Val has been entertaining Limerick city with scenes of the world, St Patrick’s Day pride, glamorous catwalks and, of course, Christmas spirit. For over 37 years, Val has been working on the O’Connell Street windows. A career that suits his talents perfectly, it’s hard to imagine that it was by chance he received the job. Thinking back to the start of his career, he remembers the exact day he walked into Brown Thomas looking for a job and was told to start working on the windows. Even without a degree, he received the managerial post in 1978, just under four years since he started. 33 years later and Limerick is experiencing one of the best Christmas display windows in a long time. Working as part of a team with two colleagues, Anne O’Dwyer and Marie Dearvan, who Val speaks about fondly, he explains how every month they are given a theme from the Brown Thomas headquarters in Dublin. This year the Christmas theme is ‘Windows From Around The World’
and the Limerick City store has accomplished this with style. Walk down O’Connell Street and you’ll see Russians hunting in their furs, French eating expensive cakes, and Chinese with their porcelain faces and china tea-sets. Classy pink-haired, dark-lashed models donned in delicate black lace lounge on cushions beside floral furniture, gold Christmas crackers, and porcelain lamps. People can also see the usual Christmas arrangement of snowcovered reindeer and wrapped-up children. Val likes to think outside the box and enjoys putting an extra twist on each display. He garnished the French-themed window with frosted-pink cakes of grandeur and modelled it on Marie Antoinette’s famous proclamation: “Let them eat cake!”. Brown Thomas stores across Ireland synchronise their windows and change them on a monthly basis. Being a Limerick man himself, Val sees no harm in making us stand out a little more and going that extra mile with the windows. It takes Val’s team two to three weeks to complete the Christmas display each year. Val feels the windows not only entertain the city but, they give back to the community too. Limerick’s
Live95FM DJ, JP Dillon, lived in the window for 95 hours as a charity fundraiser in September of this year. He managed to raise €50,000, which was his way of giving back to the city. Val has chosen Brown Thomas labels and merchandise to accompany his window displays by spotting trends as they come in and out throughout the seasons. Val was the man who brought the beloved animated Santa to Limerick back in the 80’s. However, having developed this eye for trends, he admitted the animated Santa had run its term and the millennium meant new things for Limerick City’s windows. Val has brought us a little bit of worldly culture this Christmas and the response to the windows this year has been great. Customers in the store frequently offer compliments and thanks to Val and his team for the years they have spent making Limerick City look beautiful. If passing by the Brown Thomas windows this Christmas season, don’t forget to pause and experience a little world culture, created and perfected by a local craftsman nearing four decades of bringing festive happiness to Limerick.
Friday December 2, 2011 | 17
PUB TRADE: PG 18 | CITY WOMAN: PG 20 | BELLTABLE: PG 22
18 | the City Voice
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
Local pub a bygone era The local pubs feel the pinch as the tradition of the ‘craic agus ceol’ is challenged by the economic troubles. Local pub culture may have become a bygone era, writes Barry Murphy
SMALL band sets up in the corner of the room, crowds of friends sit at tables laughing loudly above the music, and several men enjoy their pints at the bar, chatting with the local publican. As the economic troubles facing Ireland mount, one of our most talked about and celebrated traditions could be in jeopardy. Limerick pubs continue to feel the pinch coming up to the budget - could it be that ‘pub culture’ in the city is dying out? Foncie McCoy, manager of ‘The Imperial Pub’ on Upper Carey Road, noted that the increased culture of people drinking cheaply at home, instead of at a pub, has changed the way people enjoy a drink. Former Vintners President, and owner of
Locals enjoy a pint at the Imperial Bar Anna Falk
South’s Pub in Limerick, David Hickey, echoed the sentiment and added that this generation of young people is ‘missing out’ on the great experiences offered at their local pubs. Both establishments have been around for over 100 years and have become established parts of the community. Mr McCoy, who has been with The Imperial for 25 years, spoke fondly of the social atmosphere and good times to be had at the venue. Both men noted in this time of economic struggle, many people are opting for cheaper ways of consuming alcohol, while missing out on the social aspect offered by the local publican house. Mr Hickey spoke of a change in attitudes from generation to generation, as it seems some
young people are more interested in getting drunk quickly and cheaply, than actually taking part in the communal merriment of ‘the local’. “They don’t know what it’s like in a pub,” he said. “They wouldn’t know how to act in one.” Mr Hickey cited the cheap rates on bottles of wine or spirits from off-licences as a contributing factor to this change in attitude amongst young people. He said that the atmosphere in a pub for a big event, such as a Munster rugby match, is something people love to be a part of, but it is a piece of Irish culture most people are missing out on. As with most pubs in town, both establishments have a clientele of regulars, but even these customers and friends have been coming
to the pub less, as the economic troubles begin to take a toll on their disposable income. Mr McCoy said that as the taxes mount, forcing drink costs to rise, his bar is trying to reduce these prices as much as possible to draw in business.Special offers and promotions are constant in his establishment. With a number of pubs in Limerick closing this year and the budget looming, it would be easy to take a negative outlook on the future of pubs in Limerick. Mr McCoy says it’s all about survival but he remains optimistic, claiming that every day The Imperial can open their doors, they’re doing well. For more on this story, visit www.cityvoice.ie.
It’s Darragh’s ability not his disability David Kelly
Darragh Hogan David Kelly
T’S UNLIKELY that a childhood of climbing trees, playing sport and running around feature on the list of things you take for granted. But for one Limerick family of seven, these things we take for granted have a profound impact on their everyday life. Darragh Hogan (11), from Caherdavin, near Limerick City, has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) - a rare condition that causes him to lose feeling in his legs. The disorder also affects his balance and coordination. His mother, Aisling Hogan, spoke about her son’s disability in the hope of helping others who find themselves fraught and angry with
the countless hurdles they have to overcome. “Darragh needs to use a wheelchair when he loses feeling in his legs. It’s tough for him because he’s at the age where he’s beginning to notice that he is different. He would love to play hurling and join in with the other kids,” Mrs Hogan said. “It may be a physical disability, but it also impacts on him psychologically. He feels down and out. I fear he will keep it bottled up and that will hinder his education and future. It’s a real battle.” Darragh also has low muscle tone, hypermobility and developed ADHD and mild autism as he got older. Mrs Hogan left her job as a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) to care for him and her 70-year-old mother.
“It’s a 24 hour job. I did give up my previous job as a SNA, but even having that experience doesn’t make it easier. I had to fight for 16 months to get a carer’s salary. It is tough because sometimes I feel like I’m neglecting my three other kids. “He has to learn to protect himself because he can injure himself quite easily. This means he tends to give up on challenges that he feels he can’t overcome,” she added. Mrs Hogan also fears the day when her three other kids have to be tested. Her voice breaks as she describes what could lie in store. “My three kids will have to be tested in the long run to see if they are the carrier of the gene. It’s a worry because life expectancy decreases depending on what type they may
have. “I’m not just thinking about my own children, but also about my children’s children and their children’s children. You don’t want to think about it, but you don’t have a choice.” So what would Mrs Hogan say to politicians who want to cut the disability budget? “Please just come down to my house and spend a week in Darragh’s shoes. See the work Enable Ireland are trying to do. He has been waiting since September to get his own wheelchair. “It’s ability not disability. Darragh could be President of Ireland someday - just give him an equal chance.”
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Friday December 2, 2011 | 19
She was the crying girl at the bus stop in a Guinness ad and she was one of the bitter nuns in the award winning film The Magdelene Laundries. Now Frances Healy is directing her first silent film, based on her feminist beliefs, hoping to create a stir on the international film scene, writes Emma O’Brien
ROM appearing in an iconic Guinness advert as a sulky, rain-soaked girlfriend to the harrowing film ‘The Magdalene Sisters’ as a bitter, twisted nun, never mind the fact that she is also a standup comedienne, Limerick-born Fran Healy has an impressive CV of acting work under her arm. Now she is taking her talents in a new direction. Fresh from Bournemouth, where she played the leading role of Gina in ‘The Murder Wife’, whom at seven months pregnant with twins discovers her husband is a serial killer, she is taking a short hiatus from acting to develop and direct a script she wrote some time ago. ‘Skew- whiff’ is a short silent film, written and directed by Fran. With local actor Aidan Crowe filling the shoes of the main protagonist and Mary Cate Smith along with an eclectic group making up the cast and crew, Fran is looking to create a completely homegrown piece of work. “It has really taken on a life of its own because I wrote it a little while ago. I first got together with Maeve Mc Grath (formerly of the cast of Fair City) who is producing it and Eleanor McSherry (Limerick Institute of Technology) who is co-producing it. They thought it was great and then I knew I wanted to do it. I asked did they want to rewrite it and they said no, that it was perfect as it was. I was delighted.” Fran is eager to produce an uncompromised representation of her work. Coming from a feminist standpoint, Fran is all about female empowerment, without the need to shove it down people’s throats. The aim of the film is to place the male protagonist in a female-centric world. “It’s about this guy who is a bit of a twat and his friends who are geezer geezers and he enters what I think is
a parallel universe where the world is ruled by women and they just teach him a little lesson he needs to know.” The inspiration for the short script evolved from a conversation Fran had with a male friend who was convinced that we are now living in a woman’s world. “A friend told me about this theory years ago and it’s something I’ve said to lots of guys since. He told me it was a woman’s world and I said ‘well, it’s not really, it’s better but it’s not really’.
e insisted that everything went for women these days so I told him to think of all of those women from around the world who are still very much second class citizens. I said: “Imagine for a second if it was a woman’s world and you came home and you watched the news and there was a warzone and all you could see were women everywhere and only one or two men dotted around. Or maybe you should imagine the Dáil; full of women with one or two men dotted around. And then sports. Imagine if it was dominated by women and then at the end of the report there was a little story about men’s football that nobody really watches and everybody sneered at it, are you telling me you wouldn’t notice the absence of men in that world? You bloody well would.” With little or no budget, she feels that she can express her opinions in the film without others tampering with it. Although she initially considered the idea of seeking a budget from the Arts Council, she decided to tough it out and create the film with as many Limerick-based talented volunteers and as little cash as possible. “We thought about holding out for funding but I decided to just go ahead with it as it was, because I didn’t want to compromise the script. There are
some visually powerful scenes which some people might find controversial, but I don’t see them as that... I don’t want it to be seen as provocative for the sake of being provocative, but if I take them out it would destroy the film. “Dave O’ Reilly and Philip Shanahan of Apate Films, based here in Limerick are filming it. I went to see a film festival last year in LIT and their film really stood out. They’re just two boys out there doing it, but they’re doing it really well and they are really innovative.”
Frances Healy Courtesy Billy Hayes
Healy’s new film casts up-and-coming stars in the leading roles
ran has had so much support in the film making process from friends, as well as colleagues and is hoping that once they have the final piece developed, that they will have an opportunity to enter it into short film festivals, both in Ireland and further afield. “We have high hopes for the film and we hope to enter it into film festivals, not just in Ireland but all over. I think the fact that it’s a silent film will help it to travel well and there is a universal message in it that carries well. Hopefully this will be my stamp to move on and work on more of my own projects in the future. It’s brilliant. It’s a bit scary, but I’m looking forward to it.” Fran would also like to spread the word regarding post production, and wants anyone who may be interested in taking on a challenge to contact her. “If there is a brilliant film editor out there who would be interested in editing it for us then I would be delighted if they could contact me.”
For more information check out www.facebook.com/franceshealy.
idan Crowe is a Limerick born aspiring actor. He received a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He also completed a two year programme with Limerick Youth Theatre. Aidan has been acting for many years, both here and abroad. He has appeared in RTE’s TV series ‘Mattie’, short film ‘Starstruck’ and a number of theatrical productions which include ‘The Midnight Court’, ‘The Crucible’ and ‘The Winter’s Tale’. Aidan has also appeared in a variety of Pantomimes, playing Abanazar in ‘Aladdin’ and the lead role of the Beast in ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
aterford actress Mary Cate Smith had an exceptionally good year in 2011. She played the role of a receptionist in Bollywood feature film, ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, directed by Kabir Khan. She also filmed a role in Bing Bailey’s debut feature film, ‘Portrait of a Zombie’ and took main roles in awardwinning short films, ‘The Tyranny of Silver’ and ‘Howling Bell’. In theatre, Mary Cate has performed many lead roles to critical and national acclaim, touring with companies, Fibin Teo, Barabbas, OCI, Plastic theatre and Waterford Youth Arts. Mary Cate has been commissioned to perform her own play, ‘Fragmented in Smock Alley’ in February. She is also a voiceover artist.
20 | the City Voice
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
the Christmas crowd on a budget e l z z a D
THE CHRISTMAS party season is fast approaching and for men, this means finding that novelty jumper for the annual pub-crawl. However, for the ladies, this means trying to find the ideal outfit for that Christmas party, as well as buying the perfect gifts. Trying to juggle work, buying presents and tree decorating can leave little time for prioritising yourself, so we have found some Limerick gems to help you sparkle through the season. ‘Inglot’ make-up, which opened in the Crescent Shopping Centre just in time for the shopping rush, is a company which originated in Poland and has now expanded to over 40 countries worldwide. It started with just nail varnishes and developed into a full cosmetic range, including foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks and false lashes. Manager of the new store, Denise Meehan, spoke about some of the
tomised to suit you, so you’re never stuck with one or two colours that you’ll never use.” The palettes start off at €15 for three colours and go up to €90 for a 20 colour palette. Our next find was family-run dresshire company, The Ivory Closet. Described as ‘A Luxurious Lend’, the well-known store rents celebrity dresses at affordable prices. The store carries stock worn by stars including Kim Kardashian, Cheryl Cole and Katy Perry, and you are sure to find anything from the classic LBD to a floor-length showstopper. Sisters Niamh, Sheila and Áine Cahill talked about what’s hot in store. The main designer found in the The Ivory Closet is Rachel Gilbert, an Australian designer who designs unique and feminine pieces. “We also stock the bandage dresses by Hervé Léger, which are also very popular. We love to source various dresses seen on celebrities as it gives our customers the opportunity to
products on offer which make ideal gift ideas, even for the girl who has everything. “We have a range called the Freedom System, where you customise to make your own palettes,” Denise said. “You can pick and choose the different coloured eye shadows, lipsticks, concealers, foundation powders or blushers, and you pop them in to your own little palette so it’s cus-
wear the exact same dress, and feel like a celebrity for a fraction of the retail price.” Dress rentals range from as little as €30 to €200. That’s the Christmas look taken care of - now to find that novelty jumper for himself...
The Ivory Closet stock dresses like the Hérve Léger number seen on Heidi Montag and Kim Kardashian
Best of the Balms-treat your lips this season Find all our ‘Best of the Balms’ range at Boot’s Pharmacy, William Street, Limerick.
Carmex Moisturising Lip Balm, €3.39
Blistex Intensive Moisturiser, €3.42
Best of the bunch! Lips were soft, crack-free and left with a tingly menthol cooling effect. A definite for a cold winter’s day.
This budget friendly lipsalve was easy to apply and left my lips feeling moisturised, without being greasy. Great for both my lips and my bank account.
Cast off your feet’s dry skin Roisin Curran PLUNGING your feet into a fish bowl is probably the last thing you think of when it comes to exfoliation. However, the current trend of ‘fish pedicures’ encourages you to do just that. A tiny breed of fish known as ‘Garra Rufa’ will gorge on your dead skin, leaving your feet feeling healthy and soft. What was once an obscure, celebrity craze has been brought to a local level,
Boots Essentials Lipsalve, €1.35
Nivea Soothe & Protect Lip Balm, €3.39 A funky, lipstick-shaped stick makes it easy to carry around and use, but it did needed to be reapplied regularly to be effective.
While it did make my lips much softer, the white creamy appearance was not a good look! It works magic as an overnight lip balm.
fishy treatment with this
with Limerick’s very own The Fish Spa. Located on Ellen Street, the salon offers the treatment at €10 for 10 minutes, or €20 for 30 minutes. The Fish Spa claims that Garra Rufa fish are “known to alleviate medical conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.” However, Consultant Dermatologist in Limerick Regional Hospital, Dr Bart Ramsay, says: “There’s no scientific evidence that fish can treat psoriasis.” As a sufferer of eczema, this reporter decided to put both theories to the test,
and let the little fish nibble on her feet. While I enjoyed the experience (and found it to be extremely ticklish), unfortunately there was no real improvement in my condition. However, the treatment did make my feet extremely soft. So ladies, if you’re looking for soft skin that will last for a few weeks - consult The Fish Spa. If you’re looking for something to help change a longsuffering skin condition - consult your doctor.
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Warm up this winter with Mitchell’s designs Niamh Dillon “FASHION was always in my genes. At five years of age when I wasn’t busy making clothes for dolls, my mother had me knitting,” says Limerick-based fashion designer, Caroline Mitchell. Her studio, which is situated in the Tait Centre in Limerick City, specialises in bridal wear, special occasion outfits, communion dresses, daywear and accessories such as bags and scarfs. Having spent four years honing her craft in Limerick’s School of Art and Design, Caroline left for London. She returned home having worked with various fashion houses and was soon offered a job with a knitwear company in Co Kildare. After a short experience as a
Caroline’s stylish knitwear (above) can be found on her website www.carolinemitchellknitwear.com
freelance designer and lecturer in design, she decided to set up her own business specialising in knitted women’s wear. When designing a garment, Caroline does so with the customer in mind and can suit it to the specific guidelines of each individual. “People can come in with an idea and we can work together to make that idea a reality. “They can choose the colour, fabric and beads,” says Caroline, which is one reason why she is such a popular choice for women all over the south west. Caroline is eager to dispel the myth that knitwear cannot suit all body types. She says: “Once a garment is cut properly and is well designed, anyone can wear it. If it is cut properly it can be extremely flattering.” The inspiration behind each garment can come from “numerous sources with one idea evolving and changing into another. “At the moment I am looking at Aztec art for a lot of my inspiration, but I also use Celtic or Egyptian art and natural objects as inspiration when it comes to the beadwork on a garment.” Specialising in bespoke dresses has also brought Caroline to the attention of the Miss Limerick organisers who have chosen her gowns for the past number of years. “It’s a great honour for my dresses to be selected”, says Caroline. It would also seem that her fan base has something of a celebrity following with Celia Holman Lee, Sonia O’Sullivan and Twink all seen sporting her designs. Although Caroline admits that the fashion world is a tough area to break into, she says that if someone is prepared to work hard and put the effort in, they will succeed. “It’s important to love what you do.”
Friday December 2, 2011 | 21
We all know Christmas is a time for giving but this year take the time to give a little something back to your body. To ward off that bloated feeling post-Christmas dinner, avoid caffeine throughout the day and drink plenty of water. Drink peppermint tea to combat stomach gas and cramps.
Keep your skin hydrated in harsh weather by using Aloe Vera gel. Instead of using soaps with the plant extract, try the natural gel. It can be used on your face and body.
WITH A trip to Oxfam, a 50p budget and a bit of rooting, Kylie Minogue found an infamous pair of tiny, gold hot pants and re-launched her career. So why have the people of Limerick not welcomed charity shop chic? From a panel of interviewees on Cruises Street, half of those asked said they would never shop in a second hand store. Of those who would, only 20 percent regularly go to a charity shop. The shop floor in Gorta on High Street is spotted with glittering clutches and Italian made boutique heels. One pairs’ former €150 price tag now covered with the small
Charity Shop for
€10 or less
request of just €10. It’s like a January sale without the risk of being trampled. Store Manager Audrey Haugh acts as the guide through the “Aladdin’s cave.” With labels of Karen Millen, Zara and Wallis any worries you may have about bad quality charity shop stock will be expelled. Soft leather jackets and one off retro luggage fill out the quaint store front. Enable Ireland delivers the endearing scene you may envisage a charity shop to be. Racks are almost overflowing with clothes. Upstairs houses a variety of beautiful wedding gowns that would excite any bride. Enable Ireland’s customer base has steadily increased since recessionary times. Both the stock and
Red-Heads Flame-haired beauties like Florence Welch bringing pale skin and freckles back
Boohoo.com ad “Glamorous, glamorous...” Humming it all day long!
Navajo Prints Cannot get enough of tribal prints this season! Love this Accessorize clutch at €68
Aid poor digestion and help flatten your stomach with ‘Optibac Probiotics’. These are natural supplements available in most health stores.
Use lavender oil to help you sleep and relieve headaches. You can massage the oil into your skin, around your forehead and temples for relief from migraines.
Vintage vixens and charity shop chic Janna Murphy
customer base stretch to all ages. All items are washed and steamed before they are put on the floor. Any unwanted stock is sent to third world countries or recycled. “There’s not the same stigma attached to the second hand store as there was years ago. It’s almost the in thing. We get all our old regulars and a lot of younger people now too,” said Enable Ireland Store Manager, Angela Gleeson. Oxfam unearthed another surprise; its stock is not all second hand. C&A, a stylish chain found across America and Europe donate a small portion of in season stock which have never been worn or sold. The Edge vintage store in the Milk Market boasts great 1980s knits perfect for the winter. The stock is
both trendy and interesting and you can bag dresses similar to those worn by Imelda May. Owner John Coughlan thinks unless custom increases vintage stores will disappear. Cheap foreign textile factories can rival charity store prices and are chipping away at vintage store custom. Mr Coughlan urges people to try vintage; “you can guarantee it’s one of a kind.” Going on the hunt for low priced gems means you can shop and give to charity in one fell swoop. Timing is key as stock changes regularly. However, uncovering one of a kind and exciting retro statement pieces is definitely worth the effort.
Toy Boys One Direction’s cheeky Harry Styles has set the trend chasing older woman Xtra Factor’s Caroline Flack... we’ll say no more.
Bare legs Are you all mad?! Naked skin in December is asking for a cold... with a range of funky tights to choose from, why not avail ladies?
Itchy wool Pay the extra few euro for quality knitwear -nothing worse than an scratchy jumper!
Geek Chic Please hang up the suspenders and wide-framed glasses... this trend had outstayed its welcome...
The soul-destroying trip back to the house to boil the kettle is too much for us!
22 | the City Voice
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
A mind painting Three decade milestone for through melodies local Belltable Arts Centre
must go on
Up and coming artist sees his synesthesia as a benefit for his creative works Taylor Burley IMAGINE turning on the radio to listen to a few chart-topping hits, perhaps the news, and all of a sudden you see vivid shapes, colours and full-blown pictures in your mind. Each note or chord takes on a different form and colour and they all merge into pictures that you can quite vividly see in front of you. For 22-year-old Conor Campbell, seeing colours and shapes in his head when he listens to music is not such an unusual experience. Architecture student by day and up-and-coming artist in his own time, Campbell has a neurological condition called synesthesia in which two of his senses — hearing and sight — are wired together. There are many types of the condition, but the one Campbell experiences is called sound-colour synesthesia. While synesthesia is quite an unusual condition, many artists and musicians find that they are better able to express themselves by channelling their vivid thoughts into art. Considering his condition to be a positive thing, Campbell finds that he can use it to translate music into pieces that are as individual and complex as his thoughts are. “If I listen to music before going to bed, I see colours and shapes. When I wake up, I paint the ideas I have in my head,” he explains. Campbell says that many of his paintings and drawings are also based on his dreams, his way of exploring the surreal.
Campbell may join a list of wellknown synesthetes from around the world. Both the composer Leonard Bernstein and famous actress and model Marilyn Monroe had the condition and American, Rock and Roller Billy Joel has colour-based synesthesia. Recent rumours state that Jimi Hendrix may have been blessed with this condition too. Campbell may just be the next big thing on the Limerick arts scene. His website boasts over 100 truly unique pieces, proving that, for Campbell, the past few years have been quite busy. Campbell says that when he was in primary school he used to draw a lot, to the point where his teachers noticed that he had talent. They advised his parents that he should take up art classes, but he never had the time. Campbell started working seriously on his art after he finished his first year of studies at the University of Limerick. As he began to get more confident in his skills, he started to take more risks and experiment with different paint and ink. Sometimes Campbell paints or draws without any thoughts of where he is going with the piece. Other times he starts with one or two loose ideas that he builds on as he works. Campbell’s plans for the future include taking a year out of college in order to focus on his art. Although Conor’s work has been shown at exhibitions in Limerick, he hopes to be able to secure a space to display his own pieces and make a name for himself.
HEN most of us hit 30 we give up on our dreams of becoming astronauts, ballerinas or stars. We steer along a path to careers and success, blinkered to our surroundings. Few have the strength or selflessness to help others achieve their dreams. Less willingly help the spotlight find future stars. The Belltable Arts Centre has done just that. Its limestone archway has welcomed and housed many fans and visionaries of performance art. Relentless and patient the stage still stands, the anchor of the Belltable, on its 30 year journey of bringing the arts to the people of Limerick City. 69 O’ Connell Street has seen many changes. It came to life as a Georgian town house in 1825, much of which the owner converted to a private opera house for his talented daughter Lena.
s the premises struggled to find its niche, it went through phases as a button factory, theatre, credit union and cinema. A fitting purpose was not found and it lay idle and abandoned for most of the 1970s. However, in 1981 it was revived as The Belltable Arts Centre. The namesake of the centre is Captain Henry Hubert Belletable. He was a Belgian religious humanitarian and soldier in the 1850s who founded the Holy Family Confraternity. After his death a branch was set up in Limerick.
The namesake of a Belgian Captain and once a button factory, the arts centre through the limestone arches tells a story of bringing the world of arts to Limerick. It may seem unusual that a performing arts centre would take the name of such a character, but Captain Belletable was widely referred to as being 160 years ahead of his time. This forward thinking, diverse quality is found in the story of the Belltable. On April 21, 1981, the Belltable Arts Centre was opened by President Hillary. However, it failed to win much acclaim in Limerick. As applause rang out for the first performance of The Faith Healer by the Abbey Theatre Company, the reported criticism of Cllr Jack Bourke echoed through the city. He was convinced that the theatre with its capacity of 314 was not viable and would be in financial ruin within a year. The centre was a success and brought national and local theatre productions to O’ Connell Street. Although the people of Limerick seemed to be flocking to the new theatre, the Belltable found its finances were not as healthy as its line up.
n 1987 Emer Mc Namara stepped in as Artistic Director and Financial Controller and was immediately met with the task of saving the centre. While the then Taoiseach Charles Haughey toasted the Belltable as a gem of Limerick City, Emer scrambled to gain grants to keep the centre open. Despite her hard work, the centre was scheduled to close in November
1988. With last minute financial help and support from the Arts Council and Shannon Development, the Belltable was saved. On news of the grant Mc Namara said: “I’d rather not be remembered as the woman who closed the Belltable. I’d like to be remembered as the one who made it possible to go forward.” On the back of this statement the Belltable entered the 1990s as a modern theatre bringing cutting edge material in every form. It showcased poetry, sculpture, theatre, film and painting. It opened a new world of entertainment for the people of Limerick. The centre was the epitome of modern art in Ireland and drew big names and crowds.
s the Celtic tiger was booming there were fears the Belltable would go bust in 2000. As the city’s priorities changed there were reports that the centre’s lease would not be renewed. Administrator Liz Culloty faced this dilemma. After much campaigning with Richie Ryan and the revival of the Belltable Film Club, a combination of indie film fans and art supporters saw the Belltable progress through the next decade. Over the past decade, the Belltable has been repackaged and refocused. €75,000 investments in projection technology lead the now 220-seater Belltable Cine Club to new popularity and acclaim. A new screen gives locals a chance to view off beat movies that don’t air in mainstream
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Relentless and patient the stage still stands, the anchor of the Belltable
Clockwise; an actor at the centre, older days in the Belltable, posters of shows featured, a renovated dressing room. Below; the stage 30 years on. Anna Falk & Belltable
cinemas. In 2009, a significant renovation costing over €1 million began. It saw the Belltable rebuild its roof, and strip the walls back to their original Georgian state. The centre went back to its entertainment roots as well. It is linked with The Fresh Film Festival, helping local children to create their own movies. Local theatre companies such as Magic Roundabout have become regulars at the Belltable once more. Magic Roundabout Co-Founder Zeb Moore praised the staff and diverse productions at the Belltable. “Our two productions at the Belltable of Love, Peace and Robbery and Spinal Krapp drew in virgin theatre goers who were incredibly surprised by how accessible the venue actually is,” he said. Now with modern technology, a revamped premises and this year’s arrival of new Artistic Director Gerry Barnes the Belltable is sure to change and flourish in the future. However, after three decades, the objective remains the same; to bring the world of arts to the people of Limerick City.
Friday December 2, 2011 | 23
24 | the City Voice
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
No hesitancy for the poets Tom Horan
HERE’s a hesitancy in Limerick. Anyone with talent is seemingly pushed aside, their voice is not to be heard, Bernard “Barney” Sheehan, founder of the White House Poetry Group, says. The White House, tucked into the corner of O’ Connell Street, provides these often ignored voices of contemporary poetry with an audience. Running for nearly ten years, the poetry group welcomes anyone in Limerick who has ever thought of writing a poem, or just wants to hear one. Every Wednesday night, professionals and amateurs take their turn at standing under the little stage curtains at the corner of the bar and reading their work to the few Limerick residents willing to listen; the only rule is nobody is to criticise another’s work. Since there are no limits to who can perform and what may be performed,
the length, style, and quality of the work varies greatly. Poetry featured may range from a 30-second poem scribbled on a local bus journey, to works read by published poets. Many years ago, the bar had a reputation for hosting “the poets, the artists, and the craftspeople of Limerick”, all of whom were ejected in an attempt to make the place into a trendy student bar. Ten years ago, after the failed attempt of appealing to the student crowd, the bar was bought by Glenn McLoughlin. Mr McLoughlin had a difficult job in restoring its artistic reputation, and so allowed Barney to hold a poetry night on Wednesday nights to draw back the old crowd. With the assistance of renowned Limerick poet, Dr Desmond O’Grady, interest for the event grew and it now single-handedly defines the White House pub O’Connell St. The White House welcomes anyone who has a passion for the written word, or at the very least wants to experience it.
Dolan’s Dotcomedy Presents the Kings of Comedy Contact www.dolans.ie 7.30pm, Dolan’s, Dock Road, Limerick. Tickets:
December, 2 The Snowman Christmas Special feat. Nicky Byrne 7.30pm, University Concert Hall, Castletroy, Limerick Contact www.uch.ie
Tickets: Adults €20
Children €15 Family (2 adults, 2 children) €65 December, 2-22 Stonehall Visitor Farm Santa’s Grotto Curraghchase, Kilcornan, Limerick
Exhibitions and contemporary art in the city | Francis Carlin OF de Blacam & Meagher Architecture Exhibition “OF de Blacam and Meagher” exhibition showcases the Irish architecture practice’s portfolio of the same name from the last 33 years. The show displays several pallets of large thin unbound books, some about the size of a broadsheet newspaper, and other items selected from the archive of de Blacam and Meagher. The books are beautifully designed and are sculptural in themselves. In an unusual move, visitors are invited to take the books home to showcase the complete set of the exhibition in their own house. The publication is divided into five different books; Drawings, Construction, Writings and Photography, which spreads over two
volumes. Two short films by Ruán Magan also feature at the exhibition and are played throughout show. The exhibition is housed at the Limerick City Gallery which has returned home to its premises on Pery Square. The recent refurbishment has been a great success and the whole gallery has a clean, crisp and airy atmosphere. “Of de Blacam and Meagher” will run until December 23, 2011. It was curated by Tom dePaor, Peter Maybury, Alice Casey and Cian Deegan, and commissioned for the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010.
Seasonal stocking fillers |
Booking essential: 061 39394
CAVES Anthony Murphy Contemporary Exhibition CAVES, a solo exhibition by contemporary Irish artist Anthony Murphy will be showcased in Occupy Space, Thomas Street from today onwards. The exhibition consists of three large scale works based on the exploration of two dimensional shapes. These shapes have been manipulated into complex and visually stunning projections. The show is influenced by Plato’s allegory of the cave which describes prisoners chained in the cavern, only able to see the wall in front of them. The shadows thrown by the fire behind them are all the prisoners can see. They believe these images to be true and this is how they create their reality.
The exhibition invites you to view these projections and immerse yourself in the reflection of reality. The show has been specially timed to avail of the dark winter evenings, allowing the pieces to have maximum visual impact. CAVES was opened last night and is open to the public from today. The show will continue in the evenings when the gallery is closed and can be viewed from the street outside. Occupy Space Gallery has been producing vibrant and interesting shows from their premises on Thomas Street since November 2009. Occupy Space is open Wed & Sat 1pm to 5pm.
Tickets: Adults €7 Children €20 December, 5 David McSavage “He’s Alive Inside” 8pm, University Concert Hall, Castletroy, Limerick Contact www.uch.ie Tickets: €20 December, 8 Christmas Cabaret 3-5pm The Hunt Museum, Rutland St, Limerick FREE
Patricia Murphy suggests some perfect Christmas reading
Limerick-A Stroll down Memory Lane Vol.11, Sean Curtin €15.00
SEAN Curtin’s latest collection is a delightful page-turner that invites the reader on a nostalgic trip through the many generations of Limerick’s past. The collection, Limerick- A Stroll Down Memory Lane, vol. 11, features photographs from 1928 to 1989 and draws the reader into its glossy pages of local history. The book is filled with vivid photographs of Limerick life and succeeds in capturing both a local and an outsider’s interest. Flicking through the photographs, the images of the crowds are amusing as the book tells a unique story of Limerick’s past. Although Curtin is responsible for compiling the collection, many of the photographs were given to him by people throughout the county
and this contribution makes the read especially enjoyable. The collection offers the reader a great opportunity to experience a Limerick that they may not recognise, and the latest volume is equally as endearing as its successors. The paperback is the perfect stocking filler and offers a warm hand to most readers ready to explore the beautifully captured generations of Limerick City.
Palace of the Damned, Darren Shan €9.99 LIMERICK horror prodigy, Darren Shan, has struck gold with his latest tale of the Larten Crepsley Saga. Although the author’s books are aimed at young readers, it’s easy to become deeply immersed in Palace of the Damned. Shan’s writing is engaging for all, despite his target audience. The tale proves to be as gruesome as expected, particularly between the battles of the blood-sucking Vampires and the purpleskinned Vampaneze, but the action within the pages is the most attractive feature of the novel. This Limerick man is to be applauded for his global success which is well deserved. It is the series that will encourage any young per-
son to read and its cliffhangers will leave anyone wanting more. A person is never too old for fiction such as this original piece of work. The Saga is the perfect Christmas fantasy series for any reader who wants to disappear into a world of mysterious creatures and epic battles.
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Friday December 2, 2011 | 25
THE NEW KID Neil Treacy
GETTING there seemed easy. But for Conor Murray, it certainly wasn’t the case. The rise from academy prospect to World Cup starter was meteoric, and at times even caught the protagonist by surprise. “I don’t think the thought even came across my mind,” Murray says. But as the season went on and I played a few games against Leinster and teams like that, you start to think you’re able for the level of it. I just kept kicking on and believing myself in every game.” The World Cup dream became a distinct reality during the summer, when he got a call from Declan Kidney to take part in the extended squad training camp. As the summer became the autumn, the prospect of a plane ticket to New Zealand grew nearer and nearer. “During the summer when I was training with them it became a bit of a reality. I felt like I had a chance with the vibe I was getting at training. I was obviously delighted, but it was a bit of a shock getting there. I got used to it during the summer though, getting blended into
the squad. “I felt there was a chance there. I just kept the head down and kept working at it and trying to get the best out of myself. Then the call came at the end of the summer and I ended up on the plane.” Overnight, Conor Murray’s life changed. He found himself making headlines, and for the right reasons. He was the first choice scrumhalf for his country and was determined to keep things that way. He says he’s worked hard to get where he is, and he’s not stopping at that. “When we were over in New Zealand we were watching the Munster results and we were all watching our opposite numbers, watching what they were up to and making sure your own game was good and not to get complacent. “Fair play to Tony, he gave me a chance when I came back, and the aim is to stay in the starting line-up. I don’t want to go backwards. I worked hard to get here. It could happen, you could get dropped for a game, but I just want to stay here, and be knocking around when the Six Nations comes,” he says. He says that the World Cup was special, but there was still another milestone to come. The red shirt of Munster and the Heineken Cup nights in Thomond Park were ahead of him, and his first one didn’t disappoint. Against Northampton, there was a roar and a cry and some spine-tingling emotion that hadn’t been there last season, and O’Gara’s last second heroics seemed fitting for the sensational nature of this 22-year-old’s fledging career to date.
Conor Murray in action with Munster. Courtesy Sportsfile
“There’s a different buzz around Munster when they’re playing in the Heineken Cup. The atmosphere, especially for the Northampton game was just incredible. It’s just gone up another notch from last year. “I think in the next one, we’d like to have a result secured before the last few minutes, instead of leaving it up to ROG. That’s what he’s there for, and I’m sure if we need him again he’ll answer the call. But hopefully it won’t come to that.” He found standing toe-to-toe with his heroes, some of whom were household while he was pucking a sliotar around Patrickswell as a kid, was strange at first, but sentiment was soon brushed aside. “When you’re young, you’re watching these players and they’re stars, in your eyes. They still are, but now I’m playing with them you really need to be comfortable around be able to have a chat and a laugh off the pitch. “They’re easy to get on with. I think the important thing is the way they are off the pitch, especially the older and experienced lads. You can get on with them and talk to them one-onone.” For a newcomer experiencing his first full season as a full-time Munster player, his attitude is that of a seasoned pro. The relaxed demeanour and laid back style at times oozes confidence, but his old friends at home make sure he stops short of being cocky. “I just try to be relaxed. I’ve found if I’ve ever got stressed or uptight about games that I never played too well. I don’t know how long
ago it was, but I chose to be more relaxed. Obviously there are neves, but you’ve just got to manage them, and be as relaxed as you possibly can. I find that works a bit better for me. “Especially in the house I live in. You mightn’t even be getting ahead of yourself and they’ll make sure you’re back to earth, telling you that you’ve changed. Its good banter, but they won’t let you away with anything. It never changes.” He’s a product of the Munster academy system, a set-up which has been criticised in recent times, but Murray is adamant that the introduction it gives you to professional life is the reason he’s got where he is. “When you get into the academy that becomes your aim. When I was Under 19s, I was given an outline of the academy. You either want it or you don’t. You’ve just got to go for it. Around my first year of academy, I started to think more about it. It’s not easy, but the time in the academy does make it easier. The professionalism of it sets you up for afterwards. You get to go to senior sessions and sit in with the team meetings. You do get a real feel for what it’s like, and it makes you feel a lot more comfortable. “The underage system helped a lot. Maybe at Under 20s, was when I started preparing for games differently, and now I think I’ve developed my own way of getting ready,” he adds. He’s learned a lot in these past eight or nine months. To the average fan, he may seem like the new kid. But this new kid learns fast.
26 | the City Voice
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
Hurling for their people Kevin O’Brien
LIMERICK CITY might be seen
to many as a rugby hotspot, but hurling is enjoying a long awaited revival on Shannonside. These are changing times for the sport in Limerick, where a youthful hurling wave is causing a stir on the north side of the city. Traditionally home to rugby, two powerhouses are emerging at a phenomenal rate to not only dominate hurling in the county, but in the province as well. Na Piarsaigh appeared in their first ever Munster club hurling championship final last Sunday, while Ardscoil Rís are seeking a third successive Dr. Harty Cup colleges title next year. A key group of seven youngsters started Na Piarsaigh’s Munster club final draw win with Crusheen. They were all involved in one or the other of the Ardscoil Ris Limerick’s Mun-
ster wins in 2010 and earlier this year too. This same group was also members of the Limerick U-21 panel which claimed their first Munster title since 2002 back in August after an epic battle with Cork. Located a short distance from the Gaelic Grounds, both Na Piarsaigh and Ardscoil Rís are in the process of transforming that part of the north city into a hurling stronghold, a rare urban success story for the game outside of Dublin. “There’s something serious happening in the north part of Limerick city with this club,” said Na Piarsaigh manager Sean Stack. “There’s a serious movement with the GAA and young lads, so much improvement going on. And I’m so thrilled and honoured to be part of it,” he added. Stack has witnessed a rising tide at all levels of hurling for senior county champions Na Piarsaigh in his three years at the club. Progress in underage teams has been steady with their U-14, U-16, minor and U-21 groups all contesting county finals in 2011. “They are exceptional. They have been in four minor finals, in the last three U21 finals, they have won an U15 championship four years ago, so they have always been at the busi-
ness end of their championship all their hurling life.” stated Stack. Ardscoil Rís has gained a real provincial foothold in recent times, proven by their first ever Harty Cup title last year. Trained by Limerick senior hurler Niall Moran, Ardscoil Rís have a conveyor belt of talent that keeps producing inter-county stars. 15 past or present pupils were featured with the Limerick U-21s this year. Na Piarsaigh’s Kevin Downes is one of these pupils, and he feels the level of professionalism and discipline in Ardscoil is helping foster
their continued success. “It was serious stuff, a real professional set-up in Árdscoil. Derek Larkin, Liam Cronin, Liam Kennedy and Niall Moran, these teachers have put in massive work. It took incredible commitment,” Downes said. Downes captained the county U21s this year and had an impressive debut season with Limerick’s seniors as they bounced back from Division 2 but were edged out by Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final. The 2010-11 Harty Cup wins were a huge boost to hurling in the city and Moran feels it has a bright future.
“That augers well for the future. There are plenty hurlers in Limerick and it’s up to the people over it to take them through to the next level,” he said. “The boys were very, very professional in what they did and I am delighted for them.” Na Piarsaigh became the first city team in 25 years to win a county title in Limerick, and were backboned by several rising stars including Downes and Shane Dowling, who scored 1-10 in the county final against Ahane at just 18-years-old. “If those players had went to other
Clubs must help in fighting emigration David Kelly A LIMERICK City of Sport official has urged GAA clubs to implement job creation schemes in an effort to curb mass emigration. Donal Fitzgibbon, former chairman of Limerick GAA and current skillnet member, said a national employment register is needed to keep young players and club members at home. “We created a mini-directory of people with services to offer in 2009. People with skills in the building trade, accountants, those in the legal profession and so on. The response was disappointing then, but I do believe such initiatives can be a success,” Fitzgibbon said.
“The advantage is that club members can operate from home. They can quote prices for local businesses and ensure minimal cost. This would help to upskill club members and give them a reason to get up in the morning. It would be a great confidence boost for the region.” Mr Fitzgibbon added that although the recession presents serious challenges and threats to the survival of small businesses, it also creates opportunities for niche markets. “Emigration has become the reality of life for many GAA players and club members. However, we can either be reactive and wait for things to change or we can make them change. “We should be helping people to
create and run small businesses. I’m a firm believer in networking courses and upskilling people. It is the only way forward,” Fitzgibbon expressed. Donal Hayes, FAS Supervisor at the Limerick Gaelic Grounds, believes the GAA must utilise its communal status to help members who are experiencing unemployment and financial difficulties. “The GAA is a very powerful organization. It has contacts in all walks of life, it’s simply a matter of garnishing this interest and putting it to good use.” Hayes said. “I know the FAS Community Employment Scheme helped a lot of people who fell on hard times and needed to learn new trades. Intern-
ships and coaching vacancies are two areas that the GAA should be exploiting. “I believe that approximately 200 internships will be given the go ahead in the near future. We are definitely heading in the right direction.” Limerick GAA piloted a job creation scheme on its website in 2009. Five clubs submitted the names of 39 local people with services to offer, ranging from solicitors, builders and veterinary product suppliers to civil engineers and electricians. Emigration is becoming a major issue for GAA clubs nationally, with many experiencing difficulties fielding a competitive side, due to mass player departures.
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Friday December 2, 2011 | 27
Ephie: Cork minor SPORT role was just “too IN BRIEF good” to turn down Replay date set
THE GAA have confirmed that the AIB Munster Club Senior Hurling Championship Final replay between Na Piarsaigh and Crusheen will take place this Sunday at 2pm in Semple Stadium. Munster Council have also confirmed that there will be a €5 reduction on the admission price, as well as a €1 reduction on the price of match programmes on the day. The clubs played out a thrilling draw on Sunday last in Thurles, with Crusheen’s Pat Vaughan slotting over a late free to force a replay.
FORMER LIMERICK football
Na Piarsaigh’s Breen brothers; Kieran, David and Adrian celebrate their county title in October. Courtesy Sportsfile
weaker schools they wouldn’t have matured as well as they have,” said Stack. “But it’s all credit to Ard Scoil Rís, they just take them an extra step, they won’t create players but they take them definitely to another level.” “Na Piarsaigh are lucky that they have the numbers. I know they lose a certain amount, but for a city club they’re not losing anything near as much as any other club in the country with the exception of Kilkenny city.” “That’s due to the hard work and the good atmosphere that’s around
the players and all the parents know that their kids have been looked after really well,” Stack added. With Ard Scoil’s Harty Cup defence to begin in the new year, and Na Piarsaigh’s Munster final replay to take place this Sunday, Limerick hurling fans will be hoping for more of the same in 2012. As Na Piarsaigh captain Kieran Bermingham said in his speech after his club’s first ever Limerick SHC success last October: “The famine is over. Let the feast begin.” Long may that feast continue.
coach Ephie Fitzgerald has admitted the persistence of the Cork County Board made the role as the County’s minor football manager, “too good an opportunity”. The Corkman was involved this year with the Limerick footballers as they reached an All-Ireland quarterfinal at Croke Park for the first time and admitted it was a very tough decision to leave the Treaty men. “Well initially I said no because I was committed to Limerick. I didn’t give it a lot of thought, but I was asked a couple of times and eventually I suppose it just grew on me and that was it. I felt it was too good an opportunity not to take.” Fitzgerald, who was in charge of the coaching duties at Limerick with Maurice Horan as manager, was very complimentary of the time he spent with the county. “It was a great experience. Great bunch of players who were very committed, good management, the Limerick people I found to be outstanding. There’s some excellent footballers up there.” He described his relationship with Maurice Horan as “top-class,” and praised the Limerick manager’s organisation and coordination of the team. “Maurice is a brilliant organiser, absolutely top-class at analysing matches and organising things. I think we complimented one another. I did the coaching side of it in that sense. He’s very easy to get on and work with. I had no difficulty with him.” He lamented the injuries that hindered their otherwise successful championship campaign.
“We had an amount of injuries. Losing John Galvin was massive. We were unlucky from that point of view, but the lads showed great character to win the three championship matches after being well beaten by Kerry. “Getting to Croke Park was a huge achievement for them, so all in all I’m very happy with it.” Former Tipperary and Kildare footballer Brian Lacey has recently been appointed to Fitzgerald’s vacant role, but despite this, the Corkman feels an injury free squad will be their only chance of challenging Kerry and his native county for Munster honours “When you’re in a province with Cork and Kerry it’s going to be very difficult, you might catch one of them but trying to beat the two of them in any given year is going to be difficult. But if they could avoid injuries they are a match for anybody really.”
Handball awards TWO LOCAL handball stars were formally recognized last weekend for their revival of the sport in inner city Limerick, when honoured with Special Achievement All Star awards from the Munster GAA Handball Council. Donal Hayes and Ger Downes have been credited with reviving the game in recent times, and were both presented with their awards at the National GAA Handball Gala All Star awards in Croke Park. Hayes and Downes both started as Development officers employed through the Limerick Regeneration agencies and Limerick GAA, a programme that was initiated just two and a half years ago.
Na Piarsaigh and Crusheen must meet again From back page
Cathal King of Na Piarsaigh and Fergus Kennedy clash in Semple Stadium on Sunday Courtesy Sportsfile
NA PIARSAIGH had gone 14 minutes without a score when Dowling got things back on track, and three further frees put his side within a point with fifteen minutes left to play. Crusheen had managed just a score each from Fitzgibbon and Fergus Kennedy until Vaughan stretched the lead by two in the 47th minute. Vaughan managed a free but Na Piarsaigh rallied well with man-of-thematch Dowling hitting a free along with efforts from Cathal King, John Madden and David Breen to give them a lead before Vaughan equalised with the late free. Na Piarsaigh boss Sean Stack was quick to praise the Crusheen back-
line, commenting that at least half of his forwards found it difficult against the Clare champions. “We know at least half our forward line did not perform to the best of their ability. But you perform as well as you are let. “Crusheen have a fair outfit. Any inter-county forward would find themselves struggling against those six guys. Who gets their head around it (Sunday’s replay), that’s the team that is going to win.” The sides will meet again in Semple Stadium, Thurles on Sunday, December 4. NA PIARSAIGH: Padraic Kennedy; Cathal King, Kieran Breen, Kieran Bermingham; Alan Dempsey,
James O’Brien, Brian Hartnett; Kieran Kennedy, Pat Gleeson; Shane O’Neill, David Breen, Kevin Ryan; Shane Dowling, Kevin Downes, Adrian Breen. Subs: David Lynch (for Adrian Breen , h/t); Aidan Hennessy (for Kieran Bermingham, 44m); John Madden (for Pat Gleeson, 50m); Damien Quigley (for Shane O’Neill, 60m). CRUSHEEN: Donal Touhy; Sean Brigdale, Cronan Dillon, Alan Brigdale; Ciaran O’Doherty, Cian Dillon, Cathal Dillon; Pat Vaughan, Joseph Meaney; Gearóid O’Donnell, Jamie Fitzgibbon, David Forde; Patrick Meaney, Gerard O’Grady, Fergus Kennedy. Subs: David Forde (for Conor O’Donnell, 55m).
28 | the City Voice
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
TIME ADDED ON with Neil Treacy
RL World Cup is a major coup for city WHEN I started writing this col-
umn, things were different. We were a European City of Sport, but we hadn’t used the opportunity. But early on Monday morning, my opinion changed. I wrote about how in 2010, everything had gone right and we had been spoilt. Willie Casey had one of those Cinderella moments in the University of Limerick Arena, capping his remarkable rise through the super-bantamweight rankings with a fourth round stoppage of Paul Hyland. The hero went home with the belt, and the memory to last a lifetime. We watched Paul Warwick and Munster kick through the rain in Thomond Park to drown the touring Aussies, on one of those wet and windy nights where the noise and the emotion turns your throat into sandpaper and your spine into marmalade. It was partly revenge for the Aussies spoiling Limerick’s International Rules test at the Gaelic Grounds a few weeks before. The AFL stars won by seven points in Limerick, and by three a week later in Dublin, but getting a healthy crowd through the gates on the Ennis Road seemed a victory in itself. The English Premier League came to Limerick too, when Niall Quinn brought Sunderland over to play and raise money for the Shane Geoghegan trust. We even had the feel-good factor. We held the Irish Special Olympics games all around Limerick that summer, and the spectacular open-
ing ceremony, again at Thomond Park, epitomised the sporting year this city was experiencing. During that summer, Limerick City was awarded the title of ‘European City of Sport 2011’. It was a big opportunity, and a chance to change the way people on the outside thought about Limerick. It was a chance to boost the city’s economy by bringing in tourists and events, and filling the hotel rooms. It was a chance to bring more marquee sport to Limerick this year, and in the future. I wrote that those running the campaign did a commendable job bringing in a wide range of athletes and events into the city, and in turn bringing some money to a city that badly needed it. But I also wrote about how the city had missed the chance to push the boat out and do something different. I said we had missed the chance to do something memorable, by exploiting our sports stars who excelled in this last year But on Monday morning, things changed. Thomond Park was chosen as a host stadium for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. Granted, it will just be a group match, but it’s a huge moment to push on from the successful test match staged there last month. We took our best resources; our stadium, our fledging side and our recently exported players, and we did something great. In four weeks time, when 2011 ticks into 2012, we can rest assured that a legacy has been left. They left it late, but they made a change, not least to this column.
On the Open road
Conor Niland has his eyes set on qualifying for the Australian Open in January. Courtesy Sportsfile
TENNIS Robert McNamara
Deputy Sports Editor
EVERY summer, Limerick children take to the streets with their rackets as Wimbledon fever begins. Two weeks later, they are tidied away for another year as the tournament ends, and the temporary excitement dissipates. However, 2011 has been different. Even many of the most informed Limerick sports fans were unaware that there was a tennis professional from the city knocking on the door of Wimbledon. By the time Conor Niland had moved on to the US Open and a clash with world number one Novak Djokovic, few were ignorant of the former St Nessan’s pupil’s endeavours on the world stage. Speaking as he prepares for the qualifying rounds of the Australian Open in January, Niland revealed a desire to bring professional tennis to his home city. “I’m always saying I’d love to get a few tournaments at home, because if I was French or German I’d be able
to play quite a few tournaments at home and not have to travel.” This year has been the most successful in Niland’s career to date, qualifying for two Grand Slam tournaments in a row. “Getting to Wimbledon is the ultimate for any tennis player. It’s something I always wanted to do and so to be a part of that was the highlight.” Niland was unfortunate to have to pull out of his tie with Novak Djokovic at the US Open after a bout of food poisoning scuppered any chance of an upset. Despite this, he believes the experience helped his game. “Forty five minutes on court with Djokovic wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but you know that’s why I went out on the court that day. If it had been any other tournament I wouldn’t have played because I was too ill, but I felt like I was going to get something from the occasion, even if I wasn’t 100 percent.” Not one to rest on his laurels, Niland is looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead in 2012. “I’ve been able to tick a few boxes, but it would be nice to complete the set, and play in all four Grand Slams and win a round in each. So that
would probably be my next goal.” In order to do so, Niland must improve on his current ranking position of 283rd. “If I can get into the top 100 in the world, that would be great because it would mean I would get into the Grand Slams by direct entry, and not have to win three qualifying matches. It’s a big year for me.” The Australian Open provides the next challenge for Ireland’s number one. He has come up just short in the qualifying stages in the last few years down under. “I usually play well down there and the fact that I’ve done it before at the US Open and at Wimbledon will make it easier.” Niland is highly regarded amongst his peers in the game including world number three, Andy Murray. “It’s nice to get respect from Andy Murray, I’ve trained with him a few times over in London and really enjoyed the sessions. It’s nice when you get that kind of respect from guys at the top of the game.” If 2012 starts as well as 2011 ended for Niland, then the late June tennis rackets may be seen a little more often.
Clancy planning 2012 change
Stephen Clancy competing in Dungarvan this summer. Courtesy Kieran Clancy Photography
THE NEWLY crowned “Best Irish Cyclist of 2011”, Stephen Clancy, has sensationally stated his desire to leave Limerick Cycling Club, and revealed his plans to raise his profile by signing for a new club in Cork. The 19-year-old from Raheen picked up his recent award following a string of fantastic results, but is now set to take on a new challenge with “The Edge”, a Cork-based team. “I’m very grateful to have been given this opportunity in Limerick to showcase my ability,’’ Clancy said. “But I have decided that I need fresh
challenges to hopefully allow me to step up my game, and pursue bigger and better things.” This will come as a blow to Limerick Cycling Club, as Clancy has proven to be one of the brightest young cyclists to emerge from the city in quite a while. Despite his remarkable breakthrough season, he has played down talk of being the favourite for most races in Ireland now, insisting that he is “not the best cyclist in the country by a long shot”. “I’m obviously ecstatic to receive this award,’’ he said. “But there are so much better cyclists in Ireland. I was just thought to have progressed the most this year.”
Although his plan to switch to a higher profile team will be a major step in his cycling career, Clancy says it is not a step towards a professional career, revealing that he is sceptical about the ways of professionalism. “To be honest, I’ve grown disillusioned with the professional aspect,” he said. “It seems the sport is riddled with drugs. Couple that with a low salary, living out of a suitcase 300 days a year, and it doesn’t feel too appealing,” he adds. He insisted that he is, however, hoping to make a name for himself on the international scene, with trips to France and Belgium in 2012.
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Fighting the past
Friday December 2, 2011 | 29
Lee erases the regrets and targets Martinez’s Ring title BOXING Neil Treacy
ANDY LEE says, “it’s just a matter of when.” He says he has faith in his trainers and in his promoter, and most importantly in himself. He says his “time will come”, and when it does, he’ll “be ready.” He says he has “no doubt” he’ll be a world champion. He says it will be “sometime soon”. 2012 is going to be a big year for him. He says it will be his biggest. He’s got his eyes on Sergio Martinez, that Argentine middleweight with the counter attack and crowd pleasing pace that has helped him to third in The Ring’s pound for pound champions list. But Lee is confident his height and reach and prodding left jab would trouble Martinez, and that he’s one of only a few middleweights in the world who could beat him. “Martinez is the champion and he’s a tricky southpaw who likes to do a lot of moving and will attack in bursts and counter punches a lot. His strengths are speed and he has great power at middleweight. He’s stopping all his opponents,” he says. “There’s me and maybe one or two other guys out there who I can see really beating him. Styles make fights. “He could beat somebody who
could beat me, but I could beat him. Because of my style, my height and my reach and technical boxing, I would give him a lot of problems. “There are other fighters out there, like Dmitry Pirog, who’s a good, technical boxer from Russia, who would also be an awkward fight for Martinez,” he adds. But if Lee plans to be back in the ring by March, Martinez is unlikely to be in the opposite corner. The Ring champion is close to signing to fight with Matthew Macklin in a bout Lee feels would suit Martinez, whose status as champ is allowing him to pick and choose an easier opponent. “Matthew Macklin is close to getting a fight with Martinez. Matthew is a good fighter and a good boxer. He’s an aggressive fighter and he fights at a very high pace but he’d be a big underdog against Sergio Martinez. His style would be more suited to Sergio winning than my style would be. “The champions select who they want to fight, and maybe that’s why I’ve not got a title fight. They pick and choose, the promoters protect the champions, and maybe that’s the reason why I won’t get the Martinez fight now. “They’ll probably go for Macklin, because fighting me is a lot more dangerous,” he says. He now feels on the verge of that title shot, but he’s taken the long road
Castleconnell middleweight Andy Lee en route to a second round stoppage against Mamadou Thiam in 2010. Courtesy Sportsfile
to get here. In October, he avenged his only professional defeat when he systematically broke down Brian Vera in Atlantic City, bringing his pro record up to 27-1; an impressively active record for a boxer just turned 27-years-old. The Vera defeat, more than three years ago now, still ate at Lee on a daily basis. Getting that monkey off his back has been the biggest moment of his career to date, and the unanimous decision down on the Jersey shore that night has given him the chance to push on in 2012 with that old slate now wiped clean. “It was almost three and a half years since we fought and I still thought about losing to him all the
time. Almost daily. To get that out of my system was important and I think that I can push on now and put all that behind me. “Since I’ve turned pro it’s all been like one big lesson. Fighting in places all over America and coming to Germany or Ireland against different opponents, coming to the training camps with the bigger fighters and being with Emanuel (Steward) all the time. Now I feel like I’m ready to push on,” he says. With promoter Lou DiBella working on finding an opponent, Lee isn’t allowing himself to fall into a trap of complacency. He’s been keeping fit and working out in Wladamir Klitschko’s Austrian
Alp training camp with the rest of the Kronk team. “I’m close to getting it. This coming year will be the biggest year of my career. I’ll definitely fight for a title in the next four, five or six months. It’s about getting the right time, the right place and against the right fella. I’ve worked hard, and I’ve got myself into a top position where I’m rated across the board by all the sanctioning bodies,” he says. Since the payback victory against Vera, he’s been linked with Marquez, Macklin and now even Julio Cesar Chavez. The uncertainty of it all isn’t bothering him though. Because as he says himself, “it’s just a matter of when.”
Social networking not posing a threat to referees RUGBY Seamus Barrett TOP IRISH rugby referee George
Clancy has dismissed the notion that the rise in popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter amongst players is a threat to the authority of referees. The Bruff referee is just back from the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, where he took charge of a number of games, including the tournament opener. The issue of social networking became obvious after Samoan centre Fuimaono Sapolu was given a suspended six month ban for questioning the integrity of Welsh referee Nigel Owens, following his side’s
narrow defeat to South Africa, on his Twitter account. Clancy, however, didn’t seem to be too worried about the new trend hitting the game, with more and more professionals engaging in social networking. “Personally I’m not on Twitter or Facebook, but fellas have always had the opportunity for venting their frustrations through the media but this makes it easier for them. They should be professional about it. “There are guidelines in place for what players can and can’t say and once they stick by that, then there shouldn’t be any threat from it,” he said. “The authorities are very strong on players respecting the referee’s decision and if a player is sanctioned in any way the authorities will back that
up 100 percent,” he added. Clancy also backed the decision of countryman Alain Rolland to issue a red card to Wales captain Sam Warburton during their defeat to France in the World Cup semi-final. Warburton was dismissed just 18 minutes into the game for a spear tackle on French winger Vincent Clerc, which led to Irish referee Rolland becoming the scapegoat for the Welsh defeat. The spear tackle is continuing to court controversy, after London Irish centre Steven Shingler saw red for a similar tackle against Cardiff in the last round of the Heineken Cup. “He was 100 percent correct to issue a red card to the player, the player himself has admitted that. The law is very clear on dangerous tackles and that certainly came into that category
so a red card was fully merited. Clancy also dismissed claims that referees should take the sentiment of the occasion into account, saying that players who commit dangerous tackles are giving officials no choice but to issue a card. “Unfortunately you can’t go down that road of saying he didn’t mean it and it’s a semi-final of a World Cup. The player’s actions speak for themselves and if we as referees try to manage games or be sensitive, that’s not really our job. “It is up to the players to decide the outcome of a game and if a player commits an act of foul play meriting a red card then that’s the player’s actions that have led us to that position and it’s not for us as referees to shirk our responsibilities of the laws of the game,” he said.
Referee George Clancy. Courtesy Sportsfile
30 | the City Voice
Sheehy to take on the States but Holdsworth keen to keep his striker Michael Ramsay LIMERICK FC Ladies man-
ager David Holdsworth has warned potential suitors off his star striker Danielle Sheehy. Holdsworth, who only joined the club in July of last year, has already guided the team to success in the Munster Cup, with Sheehy bagging five goals in three games. But the manager has attributed the club’s successes to their collective squad, rather than just Sheehy. “Everything we have achieved has been down to the squad,’’ Holdsworth said. “But Danielle is a fantastic talent and has the potential to play international football. However, Danielle is happy in Limerick at the moment and we do not anticipate her exit.’’ Still only 21-years-old, Sheehy has been playing for Limerick FC since 2007, firing former club Aisling Annacotty to two Munster Cup successes, winning a Munster Cup with Granville, as well as helping herself to a couple of Player of the Year awards. She has gained plaudits and recognition up and down the country, with UCD striker Catherine Cronin describing her as “a technical genius”, and “a defender’s nightmare.” Sheehy has expressed her desire to remain in Limerick in the short term, describing Granville as her home, but has hinted that she may seek pasteurs new in the new year. “I hope to be playing my soccer in the US on a scholarship in 2012,” Sheehy said. Granville team-mate, Hayleigh Power, has described her as “one of most natural players” she has played with, as well as touting her for a chance at professional level. “Without a doubt, I think she could turn professional. As long as she keeps her head down and stays positive, because she has a fantastic attitude to football.” Limerick FC Ladies were crowned Munster Champions on October 31, following a series of polished performances, with heroic victories over Abbeyfeale, Wilton and Killenaule. Sheehy has already achieved a great deal in the game locally, and manager Dean Holdsworth is desperate to get the best out of her before she jets off to make a global name for herself.
SPORT BUSINESS OPINION FEATURES LOCAL NEWS NEWS
Glasheen sent off as ‘Boro held away Wembley Rovers 1 Janesboro 1 Robert McNamara PREMIER League leaders Janesboro dropped their first points of the season away to Wembley on Sunday morning. In a controversial encounter, 10 man Boro came from behind to salvage a point against an extremely well organised Wembley side. Boro keeper Darren Glasheen was given a straight red card with 15 minutes of the game remaining, when he charged from his line and tripped Rob McLoughlin, who was clean through, just outside the area. The referee had no hesitation in issuing the red card and it looked like Boro would leave Gerry Collins park with no reward for their efforts. Janesboro claimed an equaliser during a period of sustained pressure on the Wembley goal. Michael O’Gorman kept his cool to place a
side footed shot into the top corner after the ball dropped to him from a last ditch goal-line clearance by Bryan Finnegan. Boro started the game brighter and there was some early uncertainty in Wembley’s defence as Shane Waters kept them busy with some threatening dribbles. Wembley keeper Morgan Lewis was in fine form and he continually denied Boro throughout the first half. A Boro corner was not dealt with by Wembley and O’Gorman just had to touch it in, but he miscued his header and it blazed over the bar much to the relief of the home support. Wembley weren’t letting Boro have it all their own way though and Joey Sheridan should have made it one-nil to the home side when through on goal, but his low shot was scooped up by Glasheen. At the other end, Shane Clarke scuffed an effort wide for Boro after Wayne Colbert threaded a pass through the centre of Wembley defence.
Moyross United’s goalkeeper clears the lines against Shelbourne in Div 1A Courtesy Limerick Leader
Patrick Stanizewski was replaced by Dominic Fitzgerald in the Janesboro defence at half-time, and the centre-half made an immediate impression on the game, when his handball outside the box gave Wembley a cheap free kick. Alan Wallace stepped up and placed a daisy cutter into the bottom left corner leaving Glasheen with no chance.
Morgan was again called into action on several occasions as Boro sought an equaliser and Wembley soaked up the pressure. Boro centre-half Fitzgerald sought to make up for his previous mistake and had an effort poked off the line as the away side’s frustration grew, before O’Gorman’s finish saved a point for the leaders who remain seven clear at the top.
Successful RL World Cup bid is ‘a great boost for the sport’ RUGBY LEAGUE David Kelly
Thomand Park is set to host group game in 2013 RL World Cup. Anna Falk
A RUGBY LEAGUE Ireland officer has hailed the decision to select Thomond Park as a 2013 World Cup venue as a momentous day for Limerick and clubs nationwide. On Monday, the stadium was selected as one of the host venues for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, which will be shared between stadia in Englnad, Wales, France, and Ireland. Club Development Officer Brendan Guilfoyle said the decision will aid development of the game and give the tourism sector a much needed lift. “The decision to award Thomond Park a game in a World Cup competition will help to publicise the sport and develop rugby league all over the country. “Thomond Park is a world class venue. I was delighted with the response from the Ireland vs France game. We must have had three times
the crowd as the Ireland vs Scotland game last year. It is a great boost for the sport and will generate positive coverage for the city and tourism in general.” Mr Guilfoyle added that the sport is proving to be a real success story, with countless clubs established in the past few years alone. “The sport is developing quite well. We went from six clubs a few years ago to 30 clubs this year. We are putting underage structures in place in Connacht and getting the rewards.” Thomond Park impressed officials after it’s successful rugby league debut last month, when it was the venue for Ireland’s international test against France. Limerick is continuing to cement it’s status as Ireland’s rugby league capital, with the local Treaty City Titans having dominated the game in the last nnumber of seasons. Limerick players Ian Cross and Aaron McCloskey were also recently signed by Super League power St Helens.
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Friday December 2, 2011 | 31
McGahan’s young charges deliver Munster 34 Edinburgh 17
Robert McNamara at Thomond Park
MUNSTER BROUGHT Edin-
burgh’s three match unbeaten run to an end with an impressive 34-17 victory at Thomond Park in the RaboDirect PRO12. The home sides performance was very much rooted in youth with a try a piece for Danny Barnes, Simon Zebo and Luke O’Dea along with a penalty try, earning Munster a deserved bonus point. Fly-half Ian Keatley was guilty of missing an early opportunity to put a score on the board when he kicked a penalty wide in the opening exchanges. It didn’t take long for Munster to register points though. In the 5th minute Keatley made up for his miss with a run out to the left, where his pass to Denis Hurley exposed the space for Danny Barnes to break through and claim Munster’s first try. Keatley converted and then found himself at the centre of the action yet again, when his attempted kick was intercepted by Jack Gilding who put Netani Talei through into clear space. The big number eight was too slow to take full advantage though, and after advancing into Munster’s 22 he offloaded to Phil Godman, who touched down, before failing with his conversion attempt. Keatley’s patchy kicking continued when he missed a penalty and then converted another to put Munster 10-5 in front. The home side were now beginning to exert their dominance and eventthough they were camped in Edinburgh’s half, Munster failed to increase their advantage when Will Chambers opted to hold onto the ball
Munster’s Simon Zebo in action against Edinburgh on Saturday. Courtesy Sportsfile
himself rather than pass to a better placed teammate. Keatley added another penalty before the break to give Munster a 13-5 advantage at half-time. Edinburgh started the second half with intent, but substitute Harry Thompson was off target with a penalty before the Scots could get back into the game with a try from Tom Brown, despite a last ditch tackle from Luke O’Dea. The decision went to the television match official who confirmed the try. Godman was again wide with the conversion and Munster was left with a tough task to halt the momentum coming from Edinburgh’s good second half start.
Edinburgh had Jack Gilding and Kyle Traynor sin-binned and Munster made the numerical advantage count in the 60th minute, when Stuart McInally was penalised for breaking the scrum prematurely to prevent Paddy Butler from going over the line, and Keatley added the conversion to take full advantage. Three minutes later Simon Zebo claimed a deserved try when he finished off a great passage of play started by Danny Barnes. Keatley again converted. Edinburgh, who had already beaten Munster this season in Scotland, weren’t in the mood for giving in to the hosts and when Gilding and Traynor were re-introduced Greg
Laidlaw put the Scots back in contention with another try. Munster finally put the game to bed when Luke O’ Dea added another five points on the right after a great kick by Keatley put him through. Munster face a trip to top of the table Ospreys next weekend. MUNSTER: Hurley, O’Dea, Chambers, Barnes, Zebo, Keatley, O’Leary, Butler, O’Donnell, Holland, O’Driscoll (c), O’Callaghan, Archer, Fogarty, Horan. EDINBURGH: Paterson, Visser, Thompson, King, Brown, Godman, Blair, McInally, Rennie, Talei, Turnbull, Cox, Gilding, Lawrie (c), Traynor.
RESULTS ROUNDUP It was a mixed weekend for Limerick based clubs in Divisions 1A and 1B. Shannon conceded a bonus point away to Clontarf with Simon Crawford grabbing a brace. The Dublin side ran out eventual 29-8 winners. Garryowen recorded a narrow away win against Dolphin to move into fifth place. Young Munster remain in pole position after a hard fought 15-13 win at home to Lansdowne. In Division 1B, it was a disappointing weekend for UL Bohs and Bruff respectively. Bohs shipped 30 points at home to Ballymena while Bruff returned empty handed from their travels to Down side Ballynahinch. Old Crescent remain 9th place in Division 2A after a one point victory over Belfast side Malone. The Rosbrien overturned a 19 point halftime defecit to record a much needed win. Thomond drop to 11th after a lacklustre 39-6 performance away to Bective Rangers in Dublin. In the All Ireland Women’s League, the always impressive, UL Bohemian team enjoyed a truly emphatic win at Annacoty this weekend with a 77-0 victory over Belfast team Cooke. Scenes of absolute annihilation took place in the Annacoty grounds where Bohs scored a staggering six tries before the half time mark and a further seven tries in the second half. The mood in Annacotty wasn’t dampened by the sporadic kicking, as the home side ran riot on their opponents.
Rugby schools label drug testing ‘a positive step’
LIMERICK’S RUGBY schools have broadly welcomed the recent decision by the Irish Sports Council to introduce drug testing in schoolboy and underage rugby. From next year onward, elite U18 and U19 club and school teams will face testing for substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The IRFU has fully backed the initiative, and will be working with the Irish Sports Council to establish the necessary protocols once clear parameters have been agreed. “We have received no direction as yet indicating the competitions or
schools affected, or whether parental consent will be required,” said IRFU spokesman Carl Richardson. “A large-scale educational programme has to be put in place as to what substances are banned under WADA,” he added. Rugby playing schools in Limerick have also expressed their support for the decision, with coaches from Crescent College and St Munchin’s backing the plans. “The use of any kind of restricted material is completely unacceptable,” said Chris Cullinan, rugby coach with Crescent, who welcomed the announcement as a “positive step”.
With upwards of 250 rugbyplaying students, the school follows IRFU and Munster nutritional and conditioning guidelines. Acknowledging that it’s important for young players to become more conditioned, Cullinan stressed the importance of education on nutrition, and the dangers associated with taking untested supplements. Eric Nelligan, rugby coach with St Munchin’s, echoed these thoughts, and believes this “broadly positive development” may make students “think twice” about taking performance enhancing substances or potentially harmful supplements. Nutritional supplements such as
creatine, used by some young rugby players to help them bulk up for the modern game, are not on the list of WADA banned substances. Nonetheless, the IRFU “strongly advises against the use of nutritional ergogenic aids, in particular creatine,” in players under 18, and also recommends against the use of protein supplements. “There are concerns about supplements from a number of angles,” said Dr Una May, Head of Anti-Doping at the Irish Sports Council. These include injuries due to accelerated muscle development in bodies that are still growing, and possible contamination of unregulated
supplements with banned substances. As the long-term safety of creatine is unknown, having only come to prominence in the early 1990s, there are serious concerns about long-term effects, particularly on developing internal organs. “Young players have to have power and a lot of physical muscle built up at the higher levels of the game,” says Frank Malone, President of UL Bohs. While the club is “not naïve” to what goes on in the modern game, Frank Malone is confident that drugs are “not an issue” in the under-age section, which has approximately 500 registered players.
“I’ve worked hard to get here” Conor Murray exclusive interview: Page 25
TENNIS: 27 Niland has his eyes on Australia
CITY HURLING: PAGE 28 | BOXING: PAGE 29 | SOCCER: PAGE 30
Na Piarsaigh’s Shane Dowling after their drawn Munster Club Hurling Final match against Crusheen. Courtesy Sportsfile
Minutes from glory Na Piarsaigh 1-11 Crusheen 0-14
at Semple Stadium, Thurles
THIS AIB Munster SHC final will go to a replay next weekend after a thrilling draw in Semple Stadium last Sunday. Crusheen midfielder Pat Vaughan converted a late free to book a replay date back in Thurles next Sunday. The sides were deadlocked until a late scoring burst saw Crusheen lead by two points at the interval,
Na Piarsaigh and Crusheen to do it all again in Semple Stadium this Sunday and they stretched it to four by the 35th minute. But Na Piarsaigh fought back in typical fashion – having resurrected a seven point deficit in the semi-final to Ballygunner – and two scores in the final ten minutes had them in the lead by the minimum before Vaughan held his nerve to set-up a rematch. This was unique in the fact that both sides were appearing in their first ever Munster final. Crusheen
had the experience of an unsuccessful Munster campaign last year having won back-to-back titles in Clare. Na Piarsaigh, on the other hand, have just won their first county title after years of being labelled the nearly men in Limerick hurling. They have a side dominated by young hurlers but never looked overwhelmed by nerves on Sunday and fought back well after a poor finish to the first-half.
A couple of early scores from Shane Dowling and one from Aidan Breen handed Na Piarsaigh a lightning start but Crusheen fought back and led by 0-4 to 0-3 after the first quarter thanks to scores from Vaughan, David Forde and Jamie Fitzgibbon. Na Piarsaigh’s young star Dowling drilled home a penalty after fullforward Kevin Downes was fouled inside the area. Just when it looked
like the Limerick men were getting into their stride, Crusheen hit back. Cronan Dillon threw the shackles on Downes and kept him quiet for the remainder of the game, while up front Patrick Meaney and Fergus Kennedy cut loose, Vaughan and Ciaran O’Doherty fired over a free each and sent Crusheen into a 0-8 to 1-3 half-time lead.
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BONUS POINT WIN FOR MUNSTER: PAGE 31 Youthful side run in four tries against Edinburgh at Thomond Park